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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Penang mall where cash is not king

GEORGE TOWN: A man walks into a restaurant in a mall, has his dinner, then walks around the mall doing some shopping. And he does not need cash or a credit card. Everything is paid for with virtual money.
There is a mall here “specially dedicated” to an investment company in Penang.
The company offers returns of up to 24% per annum with virtual tra­ding of coins and has managed to lure more investors into the scheme with the shopping mall.
Besides clothing, accessories, electrical items, household pro­ducts, digital gadgets and mobile phones, investors can even spend their virtual money in restaurants at the mall where all transactions are done in cashless terms.
The virtual money first has to be converted into “loyal reward points” in exchange for products and services at the mall.
Its members are not only Malay­sians. The company, which has been in operation for se­­veral years, has even spread its wings overseas and counts among its members many Chinese nationals.
An investor, who wished to be known as Ng, said many people were confident about the scheme as it provided real products.
Ng said she travelled frequently to the mall from Kuala Lumpur just to spend her virtual coins.
“It is very convenient. I can shop and eat at nice restaurants in the mall. And everything is cashless,” she said.
A basic package for the scheme would be US$5,000 to buy 3,000 virtual coins from an agent.
An investor has to place RM22,500 with the agent because the conversion rate is fixed at RM4.50 to US$1.
The 3,000 virtual coins are then converted into 10,000 units. The base value is US$0.30 per unit.
The company which describes itself as a social networking services provider (SNS) splits the units after six to eight months. This means 10,000 units becomes 20,000 and then 40,000.
Assuming an investor disposes the entire 40,000 at 40 cents each, they would end up with US$16,000 in virtual currency.
However, you can only convert 55% of the US$16,000 into cash. The company buys it back at a fixed rate of RM3.80 per US$1.
© Provided by The Star Online
Although there is a lack of transparency on how the company is able to generate such returns, a member who declined to be named seems fully convinced with the company’s operations.
“Judging by the development, we can see the potential of the company in growing its business.
“Besides the mall, the company also has subsidiaries and other affi­liated companies which are invol­ved in tourism, entertainment, construction and properties.
“It is an open secret that the company owns a Chinese restaurant, hotels in Penang and even a theme park in Thailand,” he said.

4 ADUN PKR Lompat Parti Tubuh Kerajaan Campuran Baru Di Selangor


SHAH ALAM, 30 April: Menteri Besar, Azmin Ali akan mengadakan pertemuan bersama Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) Pakatan Rakyat minggu depan bagi membincangkan cadangan pembubaran Dun Selangor kerana terputusnya hubungan PAS dengan Pakatan Rakyat.

Menurut Azmin, hasil perbincangan akan diumumkan kelak memandangkan secara teknikal, jika Pas betul-betul keluar daripada Pakatan Rakyat, Pakatan Rakyat bakal hilang kuasa kerana kerajaan Selangor tidak lagi mempunyai majoriti mudah di Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN).

Untuk rekod Nizar Jamaluddin Bekas Menteri Besar Perak dan kerajaan pakatan Perak hanya bertahan hampir 13 bulan selepas itu tumbang.

Menurut sumber yang rapat dengan Menteri Besar itu, Azmin kini semakin resah berhadapan krisis kepimpinan Selangor sekarang bagi mengelakkannya sebagai ketua kerajaan negeri paling singkat memegang kuasa berbanding Nizar Jamaluddin di Perak. ‘Perang’ antara Pas, PAN, PKR, dan DAP kerana jika gagal dikawal, jawatan Menteri Besar dipegangnya sejak 23 September 2014 akan hilang

Azmin turut berhadapan dengan tekanan dalam PKR antara Kem Presiden dan Timbalan Presiden. Isu rasuah dikalangan Kem Timbalan Presiden PKR seperti Zuraida, Adam Rosly, Hilman Pegawai Azmin yang terus diganyang oleh Rafizi Ramli Naib Presiden PKR selain berkonflik dengan ‘lebai’ PAS.

Sumber juga mendedahkan terdapat  4  orang ADUN PKR telah mengadap Tuanku Sultan Selangor berhubung hasrat mereka beralih arah untuk menyokong kerajaan majoriti yang baru. Dijangka beberapa orang lagi akan berbuat demikian. Walaupun ada desas-desus berkata Azmin dan PKR cuba membeli beberapa orang pemimpin PAS  Selangor untuk melompat ke Parti Amanah Negara (PAN).

Kedudukan sekarang ialah Pakatan Rakyat 30 kerusi dan gabungan BN, PAS dan bebas 27 kerusi. Perlukan 5 orang untuk kerajaan baru Selangor. Azmin goyang.

Azmin tiada pilihan selain perlu bertindak segera sebelum kehilangan jawatan Menteri Besar. Berunding atau membubarkan DUN Selangor lebih awal.

Idea pembubaran DUN Selangor lebih awal bukan baru malah sebelum PRU13 Kerajaan Selangor kerajaan dibawah Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim sudah pernah ada cadangan untuk pilihanraya awal negeri.

Menurut sumber jika kemelut berlarutan Azmin hampir pasti mengambil langkah bubar DUN dalam tempoh terdekat atau bakal hilang segalanya. Kebimbangan Azmin ialah jika Tuanku Sultan Selangor tidak mahu membubarkan sidang Dun Selangor sebagaimana yang berlaku di negeri Perak.

Menurut sumber 4 ADUN PKR yang lompat parti amat yakin kerajaan campuran baru akan terbentuk selepas mendapat perkenan Sultan Selangor.

- malaysiapropagandanews

BACKSTABBED BY NAJIB & CO – AGAIN? IPIC NOW IN DEEP TROUBLE WITH LONDON REGULATORS AFTER ‘SHAM’ SECRET SIDE DEALS LEAKED TO THE PRESS

According to senior financial and legal executives, the main hurdle was fund units amounting to US$2.43 billion (S$3.4 billion) held by two 1MDB subsidiaries, Brazen Sky and 1MDB Global Investments, that were guaranteed by IPIC subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS. Aabar had disputed the guarantee.
To overcome the hurdle, 1MDB agreed to waive its right to claim from Aabar the US$2.43 billion guarantee. In return, Abu Dhabi arranged for an undisclosed entity domiciled in the Seychelles to buy the units from 1MDB at the guaranteed value, to be settled by deferred payments from this month to October 2022, said a senior financial executive familiar with the matter.
The transaction highlighted above implies that IPIC is  involved in a round robin transaction where it is in effect paying itself. Worse, the transaction will be booked at the guaranteed value , even after the guarantee is waived. This is clearly a sham transaction.
This new Straits Times revelation adds to the issues of illegality that taint the IPIC-1MDB settlement (see story below),and in fact shows IPIC itself to be directly involved in a new transaction in which the implication of money laundering is hard to avoid.
In addition , given IPIC’s   reporting obligations to the London Stock Exchange and its own bondholders pursuant to its GMTN debt programme, the ST story shows IPIC to be guilty of concealing material information from the market.
The London Court Of International Arbitration (LCIA) is being asked to hand down a consent award that will encompass this and all the other transactions currently under investigation by the US Department Of Justice and the FBI, who  the Malaysian Government has made no secret they expect will be defeated by the LCIA consent award.
The likelihood that the consent award will be denied to illegality gets ever more likely.
END

NAJIB & CO MAKING ANOTHER FORAY ON FELDA’S FAST-SHRINKING ASSETS? ALREADY IN ICU, NEW PLAN INVOLVING INDON DEALMAKER MARTUA SITORUS MAY SEND FELDA INTO ITS FINANCIAL GRAVE

Felda deal with Martua Sitorus brings back memories of Martua’s involvement in the secretive Kestrel group of companies. The Star reported this morning:

A MAJOR reshuffle is on the cards for the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and its plantation arm, Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), that could see the emergence of a new shareholder in the latter.
Felda is said to be seeking the return of the land that is currently leased out to and managed by FGV because it feels that it can extract higher returns.
At the same time, FGV is also likely to see a new shareholder emerging.
According to sources, the party is said to be an investment vehicle led by Wilmar International Ltd co-founder Martua Sitorus.
“The strategic partner may either simply acquire the shares or inject plantation assets into FGV or both.
All this brings back for this writer memories of Martua’s history with the Kestel group of companies, which were meant to remain in the shadows.Here is a summary.
File Note 
ACCORDING TO A SEARCH made on 11 March 1999 at the Registrar of 
Companies, Hong Kong, the Annual Return of Kestrel Capital (HK) Pte Ltd
(“Kestrel“) made up to 12 January 1995, showed the issued share capital 
to be 30,000,000 ordinary shares of HK$1.00 each.  Among its prominent 
shareholders were the following:
  Kestrel Capital Investments Ltd (British Vigin Islands) 9,000,000 
  Kestrel Capital Partners (M) Sdn Bhd (Klang)            1,500,000
  Berjaya Group (Cayman) Ltd (British West Indies)        1,500,000 
  K.I.P. Inc (Republic of Liberia)                        6,000,000 
  Lim Cheok Peng (Malaysian)                              1,500,000
  Tony Tan Chong Keat (Singaporean)                       1,500,000
In its lineup of Directors were the following high profile
well-connected individuals: 
  Mokhzani Mahathir — also Director/Shareholder of Kestrel Capital
    Partners (M) Sdn Bhd;
  Lim Eng Hock — also Director/Shareholder of Kestrel Capital Partners 
    (M) Sdn Bhd;
  Lim Cheok Peng — also Managing Director of Parkway Healthcare Ltd;;
  Wee Ee Chao — also Director/Major shareholder of K.I.P. Inc and Kay
    Hian Holdings Ltd. 
 Between mid-1995 and 1996, Berjaya (Caymen) Ltd., a wholly-owned 
subsidiary of Berjaya Group Bhd (BGB) and another subsidiary, Berjaya
Equities (Caymen) Ltd, began building up a 7.2 per cent stake in Parkway 
Holdings Ltd (listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, SES).  Tony Tan is 
the Managing Director of Parkway Holdings Ltd (PHL).  Meanwhile, PHL’s
private hospital arm, Parkway Healthcare Ltd, owns among others, Mount 
Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.  On the other hand, Wee Ee Chao’s
family controls UOB, one of the largest banks in Singapore, and which
has substantial banking interests in Malaysia, hence providing the
financial connexion.  Wee’s own company, Kay Hian Holdings Ltd, is
listed on the SES, and has a wholly-owned stockbroking subsidiary, Kay 
Hian Securities Pte Ltd, and where Lim Eng Hock was a remisier.
 At or about the same time, BGB gained control of Hospital Pantai 
Berhad (HPB), which is listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE).
By late 1995, BGB’s stake in HPB stood at about 79 per cent.  During the
material time, HPB’s share price had meanwhile shot up from the 
RM3.00-RM4.00 range to between RM15.00-RM18.00.  BGB then used HPB to
acquire a further 12.8 per cent stake in PHL, and by mid-1996, BGB
controlled 20 per cent of PHL, through HPB and BGB’s Cayman Island
subisidiaries.  BGB’s subsidiaries then sold their stakes in PHL and
HPB.
 By November 1996, BGB had reduced its stake in HPB to 30 per cent, 
while another of Mokhzani Mahathir’s listed companies, Tongkah Holdings 
Bhd (THB) announced it had acquired 21 per cent of HPB.  Kestrel‘s
Director, Lim Eng Hock, was responsible for placing out BGB’s shares in
HPB to investors in Singapore and Indonesia.  It is likely that he 
brokered the earlier deals between BGB, PHL, HPB and THB.
 BGB eventually sold down its stake in HPB, and which now appears to
be controlled by Mokhzani’s THB.  Nevertheless, BGB’s foray into HPB 
proved to have been a very profitable one, given the rise in HPB’s share
price during the relevant period.  Similarly, this would have also
profited those who purchased shares in HPB and PHL in early 1995, prior 
to the deals involving these companies.  The involvement of Mokhzani,
Tony Tan and Lim Cheok Peng, and Berjaya Group (Cayman) Ltd, which
originally bought the shares in PHL, together with Lim Eng Hock, who
brokered these deals in Kestrel, prior to the finalisation of such 
deals, suggests that Kesrel was used by them as a vehicle to deal in PHL
and HPB shares on the basis of information known only to themselves at 
the material time.
http://realpolitikasia.blogspot.my

JHO LOW COMES UNDER SUSPSION AGAIN: ACCUSED OF PENNING NAJIB’S RM2.6BIL ‘ARAB DONATION’ LETTER, DID 1MDB MASTERMIND ALSO WRITE JOHARI’S AABAR LETTER

IPIC says, ‘Looks like me, sounds like me, but not paid to me.’
Vijay47: 1MDB insists that it had paid the US$3.5 billion to Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), making the payment through Aabar BVI, an IPIC subsidiary. But IPIC says, “Looks like me, sounds like me, but not paid to me.”
Thus, 1MDB holds talks with IPIC and in view of “the greater picture, Malaysia’s relations with Abu Dhabi”, it generously accepts IPIC’s argument and agrees to pay that US$3.5 billion all over again.
Enter the dragon, local hero Finance Minister II Abdul Johari Ghani who says that he has a document confirming that IPIC is indeed related to Aabar BVI. But mysteriously, he keeps quiet about this, until the latest deal is signed and delivered.
Maybe the letter was written by the same Arab who wrote PM Najib Razak’s “donation OK” letter. Then strange characters like Putatan MP Marcus Mojigoh enter the scene, fighting strange battles for the Big Boss.
So tell me, Johari, is this how you play poker, closing your four aces when the other guy shows two pairs?
Mushiro: If there was such a letter confirming that Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (BVI) is a legitimate subsidiary of IPIC, then there is no way 1MDB could have lost in the arbitration.
A total of US$3.5 billion is involved, so why should 1MDB give in so easily if they had concrete evidence. Assuming that the money has been wrongly banked into Aabar BVI, why was there no attempts made by 1MDB to demand for the return of the money.
Is this a question of once wrongly banked in, it becomes the property of the wrong person?
SusahKes: Let’s break this new ‘revelation’ by Johari into simple English:
1) There is a letter from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Registrar confirming Aabar BVI is a subsidiary of IPIC.
2) That fact alone would have been sufficient for 1MDB to claim the upper hand when negotiating the settlement with IPIC.
3) IPIC, on the other hand, claims otherwise – that this Aabar BVI is not its subsidiary, and that they did not receive the US$3.51 billion.
4) Now, Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) must assume liability arising out of the US$3.51 billion bonds.
5) That means a bailout using taxpayers’ money.
6) To win a negotiation, you need an upper hand. It was clear from the terms of settlement, that IPIC had the advantage.
7) That is, in spite of the letter that Aabar BVI is not a subsidiary of IPIC.
8) As they say, when you go in naked to meet your creditor, he will squeeze your gonads and get you to acquiescent to his terms.
9) Therefore, the elephant in the room remains – what the hell is Aabar BVI, and who set it up? And who arranged to transact with it?
Prudent: If the letter confirming that Aabar BVI is a legitimate subsidiary of IPIC is genuine and signed by IPIC management, then 1MDB has a strong case.
If this is the case, IPIC is stopped from disowning the letter since it was signed by their senior managers who were reasonably believed to be authorised to sign such letters.
Even if they are not authorised to sign, 1MDB is not affected as 1MDB is legally not concerned by the internal management of IPIC for such letters.
But if it is just a confirmation by the Registrar of Corporate Affairs of the BVI, then 1MDB does not has a strong case since it is only a third-party confirmation and may carry a disclaimer notice.
Now, is this so?
Kim Quek: Johari, the letter presented by Arul Kanda to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) confirming the bogus Aabar BVI as subsidiary of IPIC could be issued by the very crooks from the genuine Aabar to allegedly swindle 1MDB in conspiracy with Jho Low.
These two top Aabar executives – Khadem Qubaisi and Mohammed Husseiny – who were also the founding members of the bogus Aabar BVI, are now in jail in Abu Dhabi mainly for having played a rogue role in these 1MDB thefts, for which both have become fabulously rich.
These gargantuan, multi-billion heists were spread over a long period, and none of the top Malaysians involved with 1MDB, who themselves were major beneficiaries, could pretend ignorance.
Our problem is not the lack of information on criminal evidence, but the lack of political will. And unless there is a regime change, such virtual mega daylight robbery looks set to continue to expedite the downward spiral of this country.
Commentable: I’m wondering if this “letter” is a newly improvised excuse deflecting the issue why 1MDB had so foolishly paid out so huge sums to a bogus entity. If the letter already existed, why wasn’t this brought out in the first place and why wait till now?
The only thing that could have wilted Johari’s “confidence” for a winnable case is that the letter turned out to be a fake. It’s suspicious for someone to seek a confirmation letter from the Registrar of Corporate Affairs of the British Virgin Islands via its letter dated Aug 11, 2016.
Won’t it be like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted? Why not seek confirmation before the first payment was made? Indeed why not seek a letter of confirmation cum indemnity directly from IPIC right at the start?
These are some of the troubling questions that Johari needs to address.
Anonymous 2436471476414726: Johari, we will give you the benefit of the doubt that there is indeed such letter. However, whether it is genuine or fake is another matter.
The nagging question for the rakyat is what action did 1MDB take on first learning that IPIC had disclaimed that Aabar BVI is not its subsidiary company. An honest government would have scrambled all its resources to get to the truth and perhaps try to retrieve the money already paid.
From what we know, 1MDB did nothing and pretended everything is hunky dory. This only lends credence to the belief that 1MDB knew what they were doing and fraudulently remitted the funds to the fake Aabar company.
Dizzer: These people are not stupid, although they are ethically and morally ‘challenged’.
Of course, they all know what happened (and I don’t just mean the principal characters but the whole Umno machinery, Bank Negara, Attorney-General’s Chambers, etc) but because everyone is implicated, nobody can blow the whistle.
Shakespeare (as always) hits the nail on the head: Datin Seri Macbeth to her husband, Dato’ Seri Macbeth – “What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?”
Telestai!: The name and the bank account details of the party receiving the payment must be specified in the loan/guarantee documentation, which is signed by authorised signatories of parties to the agreement.
Any variation to the terms of the agreement such as a change in the payee must be authorised by the signatories of all parties in a supplemental to the main agreement.
The paying party in the agreement cannot rely on the confirmation of the Registrar of Corporate Affairs of BVI nor a letter from an officer of the receiving party (as the officer may not be authorised to issue the instruction).
What is said here is 101 in loan documentation and is not nuclear science. When 1MDB paid the monies to Aabar BVI, it did so either recklessly or fraudulently, and hence 1MDB has no case against IPIC.
Grey Matter: Indeed, shouldn’t the confirmation if Aabar BVI is a subsidiary come from the holding company? If monies owed to IPIC is to be paid to a third party, wouldn’t it be normal to receive an indemnity from IPIC.
This is the minimum standard acceptable in the banking sector. If without such letters, I would clearly say that the Prime Minister’s Department (PMO) and MOF were complicit in this fraud.
FairMind: Johari, what steps have you taken to recover the money that had been wrongly paid?
Or will you treat the money wrongly paid to the BVI company as belonging to the wrong person, like in the case of SRC?
An agreement is made between A and B. Even if payments are requested to be paid to a subsidiary company C, it is common standard practice that an indemnity and confirmation is requested from A, it’s holding company. Why wasn’t this adhered to?
It’s not like RM100 or RM1,000 which have been paid to a wrong person or company – it’s billions of ringgit!
FellowMalaysian: It is suggested here in this write-up that barely a year after taking office as finance minister II, Johari has since distanced himself from the government’s dealings in 1MDB when he announced that “1MDB’s matters are now handled by PMO”.
I believe Johari is sincere and honest enough to declare that “I will only reply to questions from Tony Pua if I have the facts”; this suggest some degree of openness and sincerity in him, which is something hard to come by among Umno heads these days.
He will have to make a tough decision soon, whether he has the courage to defend his own beliefs and conscience or to let someone else displace him in carrying out his rightful duties and responsibilities.
– M’kini

PAS WANTS NAJIB TO PASS NEW LAW – ‘ONLY MUSLIMS CAN BE PM’

ALOR SETAR – PAS today resolved to seek a constitutional amendment that would make it necessary for the prime minister to be a Muslim.
The motion submitted by its Ulama wing reasoned that the country’s leader has a duty to uphold Islam, and was approved unanimously at the party’s muktamar here.
“The Ulama wing proposes that central PAS leadership, through PAS members of parliament, urge the prime minister to amend the Federal Constitution to state that the prime minister can only be among Muslims who fulfil Islamic conditions,” the motion said. -Malay Mail

BOMBSHELL – NAJIB & CO TO SELL 1MDB’S WORTHLESS ‘UNITS’ TO CHINA? BEIJING ALREADY COMPENSATED VIA SWATHE OF OVERPRICED DEALS LIKE EDRA, ECRL

The 1MDB saga reached a predictable and sickening milestone last Monday when the Malaysian investment fund said it had reached an out-of-court settlement with the Middle Eastern guarantor of two US dollar bonds totalling US$3.5bn.
1MDB’s agreement with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company was predictable, inasmuch as the Malaysian taxpayer will ultimately be on the hook for the fund’s debts, and sickening inasmuch as it left billions of dollars still unaccounted for.
1MDB maintains that it paid US$3.5bn to an IPIC unit, Aabar Investments PJS Limited, in return for IPIC acting as guarantor on the US dollar bonds. IPIC claims that money went to an unconnected company registered in the British Virgin Islands with an uncannily similar name.
IPIC denied last week that Aabar (BVI) was its subsidiary. But Malaysia’s second finance minister Johari Abdul Ghani last week in somewhat desperate fashion, proffered a letter from the Registrar of Corporate Affairs of the British Virgin Islands confirming that it is (or was).
Can the world of international high finance be reduced to something as utterly farcical and absurd? And when it comes to playing the “Whose Baby?” game, I think I would trust the parent to know, rather than a third-party “verifier” from a faraway land of which the main players in this farce probably know very little.
Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad wasted little time in going public last Thursday with questions about where the money paid to Aabar (BVI) ended up.
I recall speaking to two of Asia’s leading bond syndicate heads about one of the placements on the day the trade was made public in 2012, and they suggested that the paper was largely placed on the strength of the IPIC guarantee – alongside the formidable reputation of Goldman Sachs, the sole underwriter.
That guarantee is now null and void, after 1MDB agreed to assume responsibility for all future coupon and principal payments on the 2022 bonds (over US$4.5bn, including interest), and pay another US$1.2bn to IPIC by the end of this year.

RELATED STORIES:

Unease over RM55b ECRL deal with China – Malaysiakini

RM143.64bil worth of deals signed with China: PM Najib

CLEAR & PRESENT DANGER FROM NAJIB’S CHINA SALES: YET SILENCE FROM UMNO-BN DESPITE ‘STRATEGIC ASSET’ EDRA NOW 100% CHINA-OWNED

DR M’S WARNING ON NAJIB’S CHINA SALES COME TRUE: BEIJING’S EDRA TO BUILD, OWN & OPERATE POWER PLANT IN ALOR GAJAH, TENAGA HAS TO BUY FROM IT FOR 21 YEARS


MINDFUL OF THE rather bad look of the settlement with IPIC (taxpayers on the hook and all that), 1MDB has said that those monies will be settled mainly through the liquidation of “investment fund units”.
These fabulously vague units have done the rounds ever since the 1MDB scandal erupted with full force around 18 months ago. There was once said to be US$2.3bn of investment units in the Cayman Islands in the name of 1MDB vehicle Brazen Sky, before some US$1.3bn was redeemed and used to pay debts, according to 1MDB. The remainder, still in units, was then placed with private bank BSI in Singapore, an institution which lost its licence last year after breaches of anti-money laundering regulations.
The nebulous nature of these units troubled former 1MDB auditor KPMG sufficiently that it refused to sign off on the company’s 2013 accounts unless 1MDB provided evidence of the units’ valuation, and was promptly sacked for its probity.
Meanwhile former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin last week questioned precisely how 1MDB would be able to monetise the units: for how much and to which buyer?
Perhaps 1MDB will be able to sell them to China General Nuclear Power Corp, which purchased 1MDB’s Edra Energy assets last March, in a move which helped pay the Malaysian fund’s short-term creditors and erase its bank debt.
NATURALLY, 1MDB PORTRAYED the out-of-court settlement last week in suitably upbeat fashion: “This arbitration settlement and monetisation of investment fund units represents the resolution of a significant challenge, and is a major part of the 1MDB rationalisation plan, which is now at its final stages of conclusion.”
Good for them. But it’s not good for the Malaysian taxpayer. Now that leading local political figures such as Mahathir and Muhyiddin are focusing on the IPIC payment, where the original funds went and how 1MDB will honour its near-US$6bn settlement with IPIC and its other outstanding debts, perhaps momentum will gather to have the questions surrounding 1MDB settled once and for all.
Prime Minister Najib Razak, who controls 1MDB in his capacity as the country’s finance minister, has held on to power through an extraordinary array of 1MDB-related events, including the closure of banks and imprisonment of bankers in Singapore, ongoing investigations in Europe and a major civil action from the US Department of Justice. Might this IPIC resolution threaten his position? I’m not holding my breath on that one.
Interested parties – including Malaysian taxpayers – can perhaps look to the DoJ and the new US Attorney General Jeff Sessions for a final answer of sorts. One wonders if the fact that Donald Trump once played golf with Najib and referred to him after the game as “my favourite prime minister” will have any bearing on the proceedings.
IFR ASIA
– https://blog.limkitsiang.com