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Tony Pua offers to host live talk show for 1MDB chief

Published
Modified 29 Oct 2015, 4:25 am

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua has offered to host a live talk show for 1MDB president Arul Kanda in which the DAP lawmaker will also serve as the interviewer.

Pua made the offer after Arul's live interview with Bernama TV , which he described as a continuation of 1MDB’s public relations campaign using 'recycled answers that have been discredited'.

“Since Arul proudly proclaimed that there is absolutely no cover-up to 1MDB, may I humbly propose that the 1MDB president attends a ‘live’ talk show which I will host and ask the questions.

“He will be given every opportunity and as much time as he likes to answer these questions.

“In fact, I will bear no grudges if he succeeds in embarrassing me by showing evidence from any 1MDB financial documents which disprove my allegations.

“The question is, will he have the courage to accept the challenge or will he stick to the safe comfort of the pliant mainstream media?” Pua said in a statement late last night.

Redeemed or not?

Zooming on Arul’s interview yesterday, Pua said the 1MDB president did not properly explain what exactly was the ‘fund units’ parked in a Swiss branch of BSI Bank in Singapore other than saying that it was like ‘unit trust’ worth US$940 million.

“He didn’t explain why these ‘fund units’ which were redeemed from the Cayman Island fund were still in the form of ‘fund units’ and not in cash or raw assets like property and shares.

“If they were in ‘fund units’, then it can only mean that the Caymans fund was never redeemed in the first place,” he said.

Pua also took issue with Arul’s reiteration that 1MDB’s disposal of Edra Energy will allow it to remove RM16 billion to RM18 billion of 1MDB's debt as the latter did not reveal that the debt associated with the energy’s arm amounted to about RM36 billion.

“Hence, reducing up to RM18 billion of debt via the disposal of Edra Energy will still leave 1MDB with more than RM18 billion of outstanding debt associated with its energy acquisitions,” said Pua.

He also blasted Arul’s highlight of the ‘debt for asset-swap’ deal with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) that assumed RM16 billion of 1MDB’s debt in exchange for assets by June 2016.

“Arul intentionally forgets to highlight the fact that there is no assurance at all that 1MDB will be able to transfer these assets, especially since no assets of such value exists in the company as at this point of time.

“Instead, if 1MDB fails to transfers the assets of the said value, the Malaysian government has undertaken to indemnify IPIC with a compensation of the same sum,” he said.

Pua said Arul had to date steered clear of responding to his allegations that 1MDB had performed a 'fraudulent round-tripping exercise' over the payment of US$1 billion to terminate its options granted to IPIC.

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