Malaysiakini News

1MDB boss: Attacks over Good Star ownership just cheap publicity

Published:  |  Modified:

Attacks on 1MDB which question the ownership of Good Star Ltd are just an attempt to get cheap publicity, says 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Arul Kanda said the matter had already been addressed in Parliament, and that transfers made to Good Star were initiated by former 1MDB joint venture partner PetroSaudi International.

"Instructions for 1MDB to pay US$700 million to Good Star's accounts came from the bond owner PetroSaudi through the (London-based) legal firm White & Chase.

"Subsequently, PetroSaudi themselves gave written confirmation that when 1MDB transferred funds to Good Star, that Good Star was owned by PetroSaudi," Arul Kanda told BN news portal The Rakyat yesterday.

1MDB had transferred the US$700 million to Good Star in 2009 for a joint venture project with PetroSaudi.

According to transcripts of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearings on the 1MDB scandal, 1MDB only received confirmation from PetroSaudi that the latter owned Good Star six years later in 2015.

However, Bank Negara had reportedly written to PAC chairperson Hasan Arifin on April 6, 2016 to confirm that Good Star Ltd, a Cayman Island-registered company, was actually owned by 1MDB-linked businessperson Jho Low.

Although the matter did not make it to the PAC's final report, allegedly due to Hasan's intervention, the Wall Street Journal sighted the said correspondence from Bank Negara.

The PAC also revealed that 1MDB's board of directors did not approve the transfer to Good Star, and had been outraged by the matter.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) also separately claimed that Good Star was owned by Low, and that the company had allegedly siphoned a total of more than US$1 billion from 1MDB.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) had also ordered Coutts & Co Ltd, which is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, to surrender 6.5 million francs (RM29.1 million) in illegal profits from transactions linked to 1MDB, including the Good Star transfers.

Meanwhile, Arul Kanda also dismissed the issue of who owned Good Star as irrelevant, saying the US$1.83 billion pumped by 1MDB into PetroSaudi had been returned with fund units worth US$2.3 billion - of which US$1.4 billion had been claimed by 1MDB in cash in 2014.

This is believed to be in reference to the Brazen Sky fund units, which 1MDB said were the result of various equity and murabaha loan investments.

The DOJ, however, claimed the units were relatively worthless, and were part of a convoluted scheme in which the money was allegedly recycled to cover up the matter.

Malaysiakini has a detailed breakdown of the alleged cover-up cycle based on the DOJ filings.

1MDB has maintained that none of its funds had been misappropriated.

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