DAP MP Tony Pua says 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is a giant ponzi scheme, whereas 1MDB describes itself as a strategic development company.
“As a strategic enabler for new ideas and new sources of growth, 1MDB leads in market-driven initiatives to help transform Malaysia into a thriving economy,” its website says.
Pretty lofty words, but the problem is that 1MDB has not been very articulate about how it wants to achieve its aims. Since setting up in 2009, it has not publicly reported its results.
Its accounts since setting up in late February 2009 to the year ended March 31, 2011, show a different picture to what the website paints.
Thus indicating that the profits made to date are largely paper gains which have no impact on cash flow, raising serious questions over the utilisation of large funds raised.
A ponzi scheme?
If not for some paper transactions and revaluations, 1MDB would not have reported any profits, which no doubt led to Pua’s (below) assertion that it was a ponzi scheme.
In May 2009, 1MDB issued bonds of RM5 billion via an Islamic facility at such favourable rates to those who took them up, that it raised many questions among those in the finance industry at the time.
Because these bonds were issued at a discount to the par or nominal value, 1MDB actually raised RM4.40 billion and not RM5 billion.
The first investment that it made was in September 2009 when it put in US$1 billion for a 40 percent stake in a US$2.5 billion joint-venture with PetroSaudi International Ltd.
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