Malaysian securities regulator charges Serba Dinamik, seeks arrest of CEO

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Investors monitor share market prices in Kuala Lumpur November 13, 2008. Malaysia is reviewing rules to allow Islamic financial institutions to short-sell shares in an effort to improve market liquidity and encourage hedging, the market regulator said on Thursday. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad (MALAYSIA)

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Malaysia's securities regulator said it is seeking the arrest of oil and gas services firm Serba Dinamik Holdings' (SERB.KL) chief executive and has charged company officers with submitting a false statement to the country's stock exchange.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) also said it had secured a warrant seeking a police arrest of Serba chief executive officer and group managing director Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah. The regulator said the CEO is "currently at large".

Serba declined to comment while the police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters wasn't able to contact Abdul Karim for comment, nor establish his location.

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The regulator said the false statement was in relation to a 6.014 billion ringgit ($1.44 billion) revenue figure published by Serba in its quarterly report for the period ended Dec. 31, 2020.

The investigation into Serba was launched in May following a report by external auditor KPMG.

The latter had raised concerns about not being able to verify contracts and transactions worth 3.5 billion ringgit with 11 of Serba's customers. KPMG resigned in June after Serba filed a lawsuit against it. read more

KPMG had said it will vigorously contest any court proceedings, but declined to comment after resigning from the auditor role.

Serba appointed EY Consulting in July as a special independent reviewer after stock exchange Bursa Malaysia's issued a directive that the company should review the issues raised by KPMG.

But Serba last month filed a lawsuit against EY Consulting, seeking to block it from releasing any findings on the group.

Bursa Malaysia and EY Consulting did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Serba's shares have been suspended since Dec. 15 after it defaulted on a $222.22 million sukuk. It said in a bourse filing that the incident may significantly impact the group's financial performance.

($1 = 4.1800 ringgit)

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Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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