Swiss gov’t seizes luxury cars of alleged 1MDB key player

Modified 3 Jul 2018, 6:37 am

Swiss authorities have reportedly seized an unspecified number of luxury cars belonging to jailed Emirati former sovereign wealth fund manager Khadem al-Qubaisi, who is alleged to have played a key role in siphoning 1MDB funds.

According to Swiss paper Le Temps, a source said Khadem had a collection of 50 cars, with an estimated total value of 50 million francs, or RM203 million. 

All the cars were registered in Switzerland, with a dozen in Switzerland and approximately 30 elsewhere in Europe. They comprised rare models of sports cars, including Pagani and Bugatti, each estimated to cost up to 2.5 million francs, or RM10 million.

The report stated that it was not clear as to what extent the cars were paid for with 1MDB funds.

However, it quoted a source as saying that the Swiss government was able to seize the cars on suspicion of being the product of fraud, or as a countervailing asset to pay for future fines or to compensate losses suffered by 1MDB.

Khadem is the former managing director of Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and chairperson of IPIC subsidiary Aabar Investment.

The US Department of Justice alleged in civil lawsuits that US$1.4 billion that 1MDB supposedly sent to IPIC was instead channelled into an offshore shell company controlled by Khadem.

The siphoned funds were then allegedly divided between Khadem, Malaysian businessperson Jho Low and others.

Khadem was replaced as head of Aabar in 2015 and jailed in Abu Dhabi a year later without charges. He was indicted in the Swiss government’s probe into 1MDB.

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