Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar Wednesday announced his resignation as director of all Petra Group companies and as Group Chairman, saying “enough is enough”.
“I am resigning due to a number of reasons, the latest being the recent lawsuit brought against me and the Petra Group by Hollywood star Bruce Willis alleging that I induced him to part with his money to invest on our ‘green rubber’ project, he said in a statement issued to Bernama.
“I have never met Bruce Willis, let alone persuade him to part with his money. I am however relieved that he has amicably resolved the issue with the company,” said Tunku Imran, adding that “perhaps an apology would have been appropriate”.
On Nov. 20, Willis filed the suit in a Los Angeles federal court to recoup US$900,000 (RM3.2 million) which he claims he is owed by the company. But a week later, Willis’ attorney, Martin Singer, said in a statement that the lawsuit was amicably resolved and that it resulted from a series of miscommunications.
Tunku Imran, who founded the Petra Group with its chief executive officer Datuk Vinod Sekhar more than 10 years ago, in his statement also revealed his frustrations with the group and took its management to task.
He said: “I have been at all times in a non-executive capacity in the group. It has become obvious that I have not been kept up to date and informed of all the “ins and outs” of the company.
These included new corporate appointments, new investments, new board members and even new shareholders. Tunku Imran said he had received many “surprises” during his tenure with the group, the latest being the Bruce Willis lawsuit.
“The Bruce Willis incident was just one, and unfortunately, the most high profile.
“This incident has brought acute embarrassment to my family, particularly to my royal parents. I feel that the time has come to say “enough is enough”, said Tunku Imran.
Tunku Imran is the son of the Yang DiPertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Ja’afar ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
He also disclosed that he had invested a “substantial amount of money” over a long period in the Petra Group but with no returns.
But he said the “green rubber” project had global significance given proper handling and direction.
“As a significant shareholder, I wish the board and the team all the best and good luck for a successful outcome,” Tunku Imran said.
The Petra Group said in a statement following the lawsuit that Willis invested US$2 million last year in its subsidiary, Elastomer Technologies Ltd, a developer of technology to recycle rubber from old tyres.
It said Petra had returned US$1.1 million to the star earlier this year when he pulled out his investment.
But Willis in a statement after the settlement of the lawsuit said he still had a shareholding in the company and believed that the “green rubber” technology had “vast potential” for the environment.
Meanwhile, Petra Group said it has accepted Tunku Imran’s resignation.
A company spokesman said: “It is with deep regret that the company has accepted Tunku Imran’s resignation. The company accepts that the unfortunate publicity surrounding the legal action by Bruce Willis against the Petra Group has caused embarrassment to Tunku Imran and his royal parents.”
“For that the company is extremely sorry and can only offer profound apologies to Tunku Imran and his royal parents,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
He said the case brought by Willis was as much a shock to the company as it was for Tunku Imran.
He pointed out that Willis’ case was quickly and amicably resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, with Willis’ lawyer stating that the matter was a result of a series of miscommunications, he said.
“The company would like to thank Tunku Imran for his years of dedicated service. He has provided invaluable advice to Petra Group as the founding chairman and everyone will be extremely sorry to see him leave. Everyone at Petra Group wishes Tunku Imran all the best for the future,” he added.