News Malaysiakini

Dow Jones tells PM's lawyers to school client

Malaysiakini  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Dow Jones & Company, which owns The Wall Street Journal , has told lawyers representing Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to explain to their client the difference between a news article and an opinion.

Dow Jones said there was also no need for the WSJ to explain its stance on reports alleging that RM2.6 billion of 1MDB-linked funds had been deposited into Najib's personal bank accounts.

"In your letter you 'seek confirmation as to whether it is [our] position as taken in [The News Article and The Opinion] that [your] Client misappropriated nearly US$700 million belonging to 1Malaysia Development Berhad'.

"We believe your request is unnecessary as The News Article and The Opinion speak for themselves," Dow Jones' counsel and chief compliance officer Jason P Conti wrote in a letter to the prime minister's lawyers.

Najib sent a letter to WSJ demanding the publication to clarify its stance on a July 2 news report titled "Malaysia leader's accounts probed" and an opinion piece on July 6 titled "Scandal in Malaysia".

The lawyers had wanted WSJ to clarify if it meant the alleged RM2.6 billion in Najib's accounts had come from 1MDB or unknown sources.

'Fair and accurate summary'

The Dow Jones letter, sighted by Malay Mail Online , pointed out the July 2 piece was a news article reporting facts, which said the source of the money was unknown. It also pointed out that the July 6 article is a commentary on those facts.

"As a result, it is quite clear The News Article is a fair and accurate summary of current events, and The Opinion includes reasonable commentary based on those facts.

"Any suggestion otherwise is misplaced and baseless," Conti said.

The letter also said Dow Jones would only appoint a legal representative in Malaysia if Najib takes action against it.

Dow Jones' reply was sent on Tuesday, the deadline set by Najib's lawyers.

Najib's legal letter to WSJ had been panned by lawyers as bizarre.

Umno lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun defended the letter, saying it was needed so as not to file a suit based on conjecture.

Najib has thus far denied using 1MDB money for personal gain, and said the allegations against him were political sabotage.

A special task force is currently investigating the allegations, and has so far remanded two directors of 1MDB-linked companies to assist with the investigations.

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