1MDB to be ‘wound down’, Abu Dhabi firms to help cut extra RM16b in debt

A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, March 3, 2015. — Reuters pic
A man walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, March 3, 2015. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — The deal with International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and its Aabar Investments unit could remove another RM16 billion in debt from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) that will be wound down, according to national news agency Bernama.

In its report, Bernama asserted that the two Abu Dhabi firms that will extend a US$1 billion payment to 1MDB next month could take on more of the firm’s debts via additional deals in coming weeks.

It further added that 1MDB will be wound down by next year and its operations transferred to three separate firms.

“[The] deal reached with Abu Dhabi-based IPIC and Aabar will help reduce the debt by RM16 billion and in exchange, 1MDB will provide IPIC and Aabar with a number of financial assets, including units that are held in the company’s BSI Singapore account,” Bernama reported.

It did not cite any sources for its report and did not elaborate on what these assets would be aside from the controversial “units” in BSI Bank.

Earlier today, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said IPIC and Aabar will pump in US$1 billion to 1MDB for the firm to pay off a US$975 million loan by June 4.

He also said the Tun Razak Exchange and Bandar Malaysia projects will be spun off into separate autonomous firms, but did not state what would happen to 1MDB itself.

The TRX will be built on 70 acres of land sold to 1MDB four years ago for just RM4.5 million or RM64 per square foot.

The yet-to-be-built Bandar Malaysia is located in nearly 500 acres of land in Sungei Besi that was previously occupied by the Royal Malaysian Air Force airbase.

1MDB was incorporated in 2009, after the prime minister announced the decision to turn the TIA state fund into a federal agency.

Since then, 1MDB has been dogged by negative publicity over its finances and debt, and most recently cash flow problems that saw it struggle to meet a RM2 billion loan payment.

It is currently being investigated by the Auditor General and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.

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