NEWS

1MDB’s love affair with the Arab world

Khairie Hisyam

Published
Modified 21 Dec 2015, 4:23 am

KINIBIZ When it was first set up as Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) in early 2009, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) set out to drive strategic development of national interests.

However, after it was taken over by the federal government by mid-2009, the meaning of ‘strategic’ seems to have taken an Arabic flavour.

The company’s board of advisers, for starters, count two prominent Middle Easterners as advisers - former Qatar prime minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani as special adviser while adviser Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak is CEO of Mubadala Development Co, an investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi emirate in the United Arab Emirates.

And then there is also the dynamics brought by businessman Low Taek Jho, who is known for his close connections with both the Middle East rich as well as with the prime minister’s family.

While Low, more commonly known as Jho Low, never had any official role, nor received remuneration from 1MDB in any form according to both his representatives and 1MDB, he seems intimately involved and instrumental in putting together 1MDB’s maiden joint venture - the first of many decisions linking back to the Arab world.

PetroSaudi and the departed billions

In September 2009, 1MDB hastily formed joint venture with privately-owned conglomerate PetroSaudi International Ltd, inking an agreement just days after CEOs from both sides were introduced.

It was a strange circumstance, considering that Jho Low has no official role in 1MDB, beyond offering advice by invitation of the company up to the point it ceased to be TIA and was renamed, his representative said previously.

For the full story go to KINIBIZ .

Part I: Anatomy of a money-spinner

Part II: The colourful family and friends of 1MDB

Part III: How 1MDB lost RM6b through bond mispricing

Part IV: Other questionable use of loans - the Goldman bonds

Part V: H ow 1MDB overpaid Goldman Sachs

Part VI: The RM7b PetroSaudi caper

Part VII: How 1MDB overpaid for its power assets