Malaysia panel alleges conspiracy in judicial fixing scandal

Malaysia panel alleges conspiracy in judicial fixing scandal

[JURIST] Prominent Malaysian lawyer VK Lingam conspired [The Star report] with allies in government, the judiciary, and business to arrange favorable judicial appointments, a Malaysian government inquiry panel announced Friday. The panel was convened to investigate allegations of judicial fixing following the January release of a video [YouTube video; JURIST report] which purportedly depicts Lingam brokering the former Chief Justice's appointment to the Supreme Court of Malaysia. The person on the other end of the phone was believed to be Malaysian Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim. The inquiry panel report also accused four other people, including business tycoon Vincent Tan, of involvement in the conspiracy; the Malaysian Cabinet has ordered an investigation. Law Minister Ziad Ibrahim [firm profile] told Malaysian newspaper The Star Friday that the six alleged conspirators could face obstruction of justice charges. Reuters has more. AP has additional coverage. The New Straits Times has local coverage.

The video's release last year prompted 2,000 lawyers and activists to call for an official investigation [JURIST report; press release] in a mass protest. A Royal Commission began its sessions in January, when Lingam told the panel that he was intoxicated [JURIST report] at the time the video was filmed. Lingam also told the panel that Halim was not on the other end of the line [Bernama report] in the first video.