Sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has redeemed in full the US$2.318 billion (RM8.24 billion) invested by the company in a Cayman Islands registered fund, according to its newly-minted president and group executive director Arul Kanda.
In a statement, 1MDB said it had previously redeemed US$1.215 billion, which is 60% of the funds invested, and has now taken back the remaining US$1.103 billion.
“Following a commitment made by the chairman of the board of directors in a statement dated December 23, 2014, 1MDB can confirm that it has now redeemed in full the US$2.318 billion invested by the company in a Cayman Islands registered fund,” he said.
“These funds originated from the repayment of a loan provided to PetroSaudi in 2011, in the form of Murahaba notes, following the termination of an earlier agreement to enter into a JV with the company. The notes, which were paid back in full â€“ with interest, were subsequently invested in a fund under the regulatory supervision of the Cayman Monetary Authority.”
Arul, who is into his second week of his new job at the controversial and debt-ridden fund, had previously told The Malaysian Insider that more time was needed to bring back the remaining funds in the Cayman Islands due to the portfolio’s size and nature of investments.
He also revealed that the strategic development firm had begun operations to repatriate the money.
“I understand that it was originally stated these funds would be redeemed by the end of the year that has just concluded but as a former banker, I can tell you that â€“ with investments of this size and nature â€“ it takes a while to wrap them up,” he said.
1MDB had earlier invested US$2.32 billion in a â€œsegregated portfolio fundâ€ in 2013, and it was later revealed that the money was being managed by a fund manager in the Caymans, a move which drew intense scrutiny and criticism from the opposition and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Many, including former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, also questioned the secretive nature of the fund’s investment in the Cayman Islands.
DAP’s Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua had questioned the delay in getting the funds back, despite pledges from Putrajaya and the company that all the money would be repatriated by the end of 2014.
He said the delay had not only raised questions about 1MDB but also threatened the stability of Malaysia’s financial system.
On November 6, 2014, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan had said in parliament that 1MDB had repatriated part of the funds in the Caymans and would bring back the balance by the end of the year.
The company’s financial statements for the year ending March 2014 which were filed in October 2014 had also stated that the US$1.23 billion would be received in full before the end of November last year.
Last month, however, 1MDB chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin had said that 1MDB only â€œexpects to redeem the remaining amount in the coming monthsâ€.
Lodin added that repatriating the funds to Malaysia would have exposed the money to fluctuations on the foreign exchange market.
This follows the 10-month decline of the ringgit to RM3.55 against the US dollar.MYNEWSHUB