Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown has confirmed rumours that she received RM1.4 million as part of her out-of-court settlement with PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang last month.
She said, however, that the court made no order as to costs because Hadi had already made the payment, which was placed in escrow with Sarawak Report’s Malaysian lawyer Americk Sidhu.
"Sarawak Report agreed to Hadi’s condition that both parties keep the payment confidential.
"It is a common provision of such settlements that out-of-court payments are kept confidential to spare the blushes of the party who paid, in return for saving both parties the further time and expense of further litigation.
"That court order withdrawing the proceedings therefore provided for ‘no order as to costs’, as Hadi’s contribution had already been paid and was in escrow," Rewcastle-Brown said in her blog today.
She shared images of several documents, including a confidential agreement, a Bank Islam cheque, and a letter to Maybank confirming that the RM1.4 million had come from Hadi.
The letter to Maybank (below), she said, was the document that PKR president Anwar Ibrahim had obtained about the payment.
Rewcastle-Brown also shared a court document noting that there were confidential terms of settlement, and no order of costs from the UK High Court.
Yesterday, PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said PAS would reveal documentary evidence that no payment had been made to Rewcastle-Brown.
Rewcastle-Brown, however, said such denials from PAS were misleading, untrue, and a breach of the confidentiality agreement.
"Hadi should not have been discussing details of the settlement payment with a member of PAS at all.
"Takiyuddin’s representations on Hadi’s behalf is a flagrant and repudiatory breach of the confidentiality agreement, which is particularly egregious as it is untrue.
"Sarawak Report therefore is entitled to consider itself released from confidentiality also, in order to be able to tell the truth to the Malaysian people who are being misled.
"There are no documents ‘proving Sarawak Report was not paid’; on the contrary, there is copious evidence showing we were paid by agents of Hadi to allow him to withdraw his claim," she said.
She said she was first approached with an offer for an out-of-court settlement late last year through an intermediary of Hadi's.
She said PAS had originally wanted to pay with cash, which she refused, opting for a post-dated cheque instead.
Hadi had sued Rewcastle-Brown in London over a 2016 Sarawak Report article claiming that then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak channelled RM90 million to top PAS leaders in a bid to secure support ahead of the 14th general election.