Azmin claims travel agency suit part of sex video conspiracy by ‘party leader’
Editor’s note: An earlier copy of this report mistakenly wrote that the travel agency’s majority shareholder was the mother of Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz. This error is regretted.
A new twist has emerged in the lawsuit filed by a travel agency against Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali.
In a counterclaim filed by Azmin’s lawyers Messrs Daim and Gamani, it is alleged that suit had an ulterior motive, linked to the alleged sex videos between the PKR deputy president and Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz.
The filing sighted by Malaysiakini referred to the footage as the “fitnah videos”.
It said that YHA Travel & Tours (M) Sdn Bhd’s majority shareholder Yasmin Hanim Arbee and her husband, chairperson Mohd Ayub Hassan were the parents of one Mohd Haziq Hassan Mohd Ayub.
Haziq Hassan had been arrested in connection with the police probe into the sex video.
The countersuit said that both Yasmin and Mohd Ayub had enjoyed a “very close relationship” with PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
“The filing of this suit by the plaintiff (YHA) is not for the vindication of the plaintiff’s rights but for some ulterior purpose that is designed to harm the defendant (Azmin),” it said.
“The conspiracy in relation to the ‘fitnah videos’ was orchestrated by the leader of a political party,” it also said.
The countersuit also alleged that YHA’s statement of claim had been leaked to Sarawak Report, who could not have been privy to the filing, thus supporting the claim of an ulterior motive.
Azmin is seeking damages, costs and any further relief provided by the court.
In June this year, Haziq Abdul Aziz had claimed that sex videos circulating on social media were of him and a man he claimed was Azmin.
Azmin has denied this, saying it was slander aimed at tarnishing his image.
Police have sent the video to be analysed by a US university after they failed to determine the identities of those in the video.
In July, Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said a political leader was behind the plot, which Azmin cited in his counterclaim.
YHA had sued Azmin last month for the recovery of RM328,901 for unpaid flight tickets and hotel stays.
In his statement of defence, Azmin said he had a 20-year-long friendly business relationship with the travel agency, which gave him “considerable latitude in settling any outstanding sum” and that the suit had breached their “understanding”.
Azmin admitted liability to the sum owed by himself and his children under the age of 20.
However, he said his children who are older than 20 will have to pay for the sum owed themselves.
Similarly, Azmin said he is also not liable for any sum due under the Economic Affairs Ministry’s account.
PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Azmin Ali (pic) has filed a counterclaim against the travel agency that accused him of not paying his travel expenses.
In the Economic Affairs Minister’s counterclaim filed by his lawyers Daim & Gamany at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on Friday (Dec 13), he stated that he would settle an amount of RM162,272 owed.
He added that he had a 20-year-long business relationship with the owners of the travel agency YHA Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd, where he was “given the latitude in settling any outstanding sum owed to the agency”.
“Any sum due and owing in the defendant’s account (Azmin) or for the account of his children who are below the age of 20 years old and below will be settled by the defendant.
“For the amount of his children who are adults, any sum due and owing is to be settled by the respective account holder,” the counterclaim stated.
Azmin also said that he is not liable for any sum owing under the account named “the ministry’s account”.
In the counterclaim, Azmin stated that the suit by the travel agency was a political attack by a certain politician, whom he named in the document.
Zuraida doesn’t think travel agency suing Azmin is political
PKR vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin does not believe that there is a political element in a travel agency’s lawsuit against party deputy president Azmin Ali.
“If I understand (correctly), the son of the owner (of the travel agency) is (said to be) one of those detained by the police over the (sex) video.
“(I think) it is just a coincidence. I don’t think there is a relationship (between the lawsuit) and that issue,” Zuraida told reporters today in Putrajaya.
Zuraida was responding to a question on speculation online that the lawsuit by YHA Travel & Tour to claim RM328,901 in travel booking fees from Azmin had a political angle.
Several political Facebook pages and blogs had accused the owner of YHA Travel & Tour of being a close ally of Anwar Ibrahim.
Some also alleged that the owner’s son was arrested by police on July 19 over the sex video that implicated Azmin. Of the 11 people arrested over the video, no one has faced charges yet.
Asked if she believed the suit was designed to damage the cabinet or Pakatan Harapan’s image, Zuraida replied in the negative.
She believed that the travel agency probably discovered the payment lapse recently and was trying to recover the funds.
“I think it’s just business […] Probably Azmin overlooked this. He is prepared to pay. So there is no issue,” she said.