KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 – The High Court here has ordered businessman Low Thiam Hoe and Mekuritek Sdn Bhd to pay RM28.59 million each to Hong Leong Finance Berhad (HLFB) for failing to repay a syndicated loan facility amounting to RM445 million, 14 years ago.
Judge Hadhariah Syed Ismail also ordered the duo to pay contractual interest on their respective loans to HLFB from June 11, 1998 till the date of full settlement, and another four per cent interest to the bank, beginning today.
Earlier, Hadhariah rejected Low’s counter-claim with cost, saying that he had failed to prove it.
“I have concluded that Low has no personal knowledge on collateral contract, (and therefore) I reject his evidence on this issue. I hold that the defendant’s (Low) contention on collateral agreement cannot be true,” she said.
In her judgment, Hadhariah said the syndicated bankers granted loans to Low and Mekuritek Sdn Bhd but they did not make payment, in accordance with the terms of contract.
She also dismissed Low’s contention that the loan was to be settled, according to the ‘Torie Scheme’ which involved acquisition of Kewangan Bersatu Berhad (KBB) by Hong Leong.
On March 19, Hadhariah dismissed Low’s application to amend his defence statement to include the involvement of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (then finance minister) as a person behind the deal with Hong Leong Bank Berhad chairman Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan.
In 1998, HLFB filed the suit against Low for failure to repay a RM28 million loan to the bank.
In 1999, Low had filed a counter-claim against HLFB, HLG Capital Markets Sdn Bhd and Seo Lun Hoo, who was Hong Leong Credit Berhad’s former chief executive officer, seeking general damages for wrongful and negligent advice.
HLFB also filed the suit against Mekuritek Sdn Bhd and three guarantors, Hussin Abdul Karim, Agus Salim Mohd Dom and Abdullah Abd Karim Bajerai, as defendants, asking them to repay the RM28 million for the loan.
Low, in his statement of defence, said HLFB was a co-arranger with HLB Capital Markets Sdn Bhd (HLGCM) of a syndicated loan facility of RM445 million for Arus Murni Sdn Bhd (AMSB), which owned KBB, to complete the acquisition of shares in Arus Murni Corporation Berhad (AMCB).
Andrew Chiew is representing HLFB while D. Paramalingam appeared for Low. – Bernama