Dow Jones: No need to clarify 1MDB articles
DOW Jones and Company has stated that it is not necessary for it to clarify if two articles published by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) were intended to accuse Prime Minister Najib Razak of misappropriating 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.
In a reply to Mr Najib's lawyers, the company which owns WSJ, said the report published on July 2 and a subsequent opinion piece on July 6 were self-explanatory as they "were based on available facts".
"In your letter, you 'seek confirmation as to whether it is (our) position as taken in (the news article and the opinion piece) that (your) client misappropriated nearly US$700 million (S$957 million) belonging to 1MDB'.
"We believe your request is unnecessary as the news article and the opinion speak for themselves," Dow Jones' counsel and chief compliance officer, Jason Conti, was quoted as saying in a letter seen by the Malay Mail Online.
The company was responding to a request for confirmation from Mr Najib's lawyers, Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak Advocates and Solicitors, in a letter dated July 8.
The letter from the law firm urged Dow Jones to state its position on the articles as they collectively suggested that WSJ was unsure of the original source of the money and what happened to it, yet attempted to create an impression that the Prime Minister was guilty of misappropriating US$700 million.
However, Mr Conti said that the July 2 article, titled "Malaysia leader's accounts probed", had expressly noted that the money trail did not indicate how the funds were spent.
The lawyer also pointed out that the July 2 piece was a news report while the July 6 article, titled "Scandal in Malaysia", was an opinion piece based on facts that had emerged.
"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," Mr Conti was quoted as saying by the Malay Mail Online.
He added that the US publisher had yet to appoint legal representatives in Malaysia, as legal action had yet to be taken against WSJ for its reports.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK