Malaysiakini NEWS

China firm denies rail project 'price hike to bailout 1MDB' claim

Published:  |  Modified:

The China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) has denied allegations of a conspiracy to inflate the cost of the double-track East Coast Rail Project (ECRP) to help the Malaysian government secretly pay off 1MDB debt.

According to the daily The Australian, the CCCC said it had “no knowledge of the claims in those (Sarawak Report) articles”.

“We will continue to follow those false accusations made by certain media and will take necessary steps to defend our lawful rights,” the China state-owned company told the Australia-based newspaper.

The company was responding to Sarawak Report’s claims that the ECRP project would be awarded to the CCCC at an increased cost of RM60 billion, instead of RM30 billion.

Works Minister Fadillah Yusof has also denied the allegation.

According to Sarawak Report last week, the cost of the ECRP would all be borrowed from the Chinese government, and the extra RM30 billion would be channelled towards paying off 1MDB debts.

Among others, this supposedly includes paying off 1MDB’s debts to the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), using an unrelated Chinese third party as a front for the transaction.

The whistleblower site also alleged that CCCC would pay 1MDB an inflated price for land in Ayer Itam, Penang, as well as assume responsibilities for repayment of several other 1MDB debts.

CCCC to be rewarded with high profits

In return, CCCC would supposedly be rewarded with high profits, land and more influence on the Malaysian government.

All these are purportedly laid out in a CCCC internal document, parts of which have been published on Sarawak Report’s website. The authenticity of the documents has not been independently verified.

The Australian also noted that the allegations would mean that the engineering group John Hollan - a CCCC subsidiary - would be the third major Australian company dragged into the 1MDB scandal.

The other two are ANZ, which owns a quarter of AmBank, and LendLease, a developer in 1MDB’s Tun Razak Exchange project. The two are not being accused of wrongdoing.

However, the World Bank has previously debarred CCCC, until January 2017, from its projects due to allegedly fraudulent practices.

According to court filings by the US Department of Justice, some US$731 million of the money siphoned from 1MDB had ended up in Ambank accounts held by a certain ‘Malaysian Official 1’.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is widely speculated to be Malaysian Official 1, has consistently denied any wrongdoing in connection with the 1MDB scandal.

Attorney-general Mohamad Apandi Ali has also exonerated Najib of wrongdoing on the billions of ringgit that were transferred into his personal bank accounts.



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