July 16, 2018 / 12:03 PM / a month ago

REFILE-Malaysia's Najib drops lawsuits against top 1MDB investigators

(Refiles to remove extraneous words in headline)

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s former premier Najib Razak on Monday dropped three civil suits against investigators of a multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, two weeks after he filed the applications.

Najib and his family have faced intense scrutiny since a shock defeat in a May election by his former mentor-turned-foe, Mahathir Mohamad, who reopened an investigation into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) after becoming prime minister.

Najib’s applications came days before he was arrested and charged over suspicious transactions at SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB. Najib, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing regarding 1MDB and SRC, pleaded not guilty.

The three suits were withdrawn after pretrial hearings to allow Najib to file fresh suits, state news agency Bernama on Monday quoted lawyer Alice Loke Yee Ching, who was acting for the government, as saying.

A spokesman for the law firm representing Najib, Badrul Samad Faik and Co, told Reuters it needed to make changes reflecting recent developments regarding its client’s criminal charges before filing new applications.

In the three civil filings, Najib’s lawyers accused anti-graft chief Mohd Shukri Abdull, police commercial crimes head Amar Singh and Attorney General Tommy Thomas of prejudice against the former prime minister.

Najib’s law firm had earlier told Reuters it was seeking a court decision whether there was “an element of conflict of interest” among those handling the case.

Shukri and Amar did not immediately respond to telephone calls or messages from Reuters to seek comment. The attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment from Thomas.

Last week, media reported Shukri as saying he would face any civil suit filed by Najib, while Amar told reporters the police would “respond accordingly” if there was a need. ($1=4.0450 ringgit) (Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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