Malaysia's 1MDB reaches settlement deal with Abu Dhabi's IPIC

Malaysia's 1MDB reaches settlement deal with Abu Dhabi's IPIC

1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund, International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) have reached an agreement over arbitration proceedings involving two USA dollar bonds amounting to US$3.5bil.

IPIC had guaranteed bonds issued by 1MDB, the two companies said in separate statements, but now 1MDB and Malaysia's Ministry of Finance will assume responsibility for all future interest and principal payments under two bonds issued by 1MDB Group companies, IPIC said in a filing in London.

The Malaysian fund announced in October 2015 that IPIC agreed to assume obligations on the two United States dollar bonds and also agreed to make a US$1bil cash payment to 1MDB.

1MDB, which in July 2016 said its audited financial statements for 2013 and 2014 should not be relied upon after U.S. prosecutors said more than US$3.5 billion was misappropriated from the fund, has not reissued audited accounts for financial years 2013 and 2014.

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These include the $1.75 billion 5.75 percent fixed rate notes due 2022 and $1.75 billion fixed rate 5.99 percent notes due 2022, both issued by 1MDB entities.

A bone of contention was payment allegedly made by 1MDB to Aabar Investments PJS Ltd, a subsidiary of IPIC. In return, 1MDB had agreed to transfer assets - both cash and fund units - to IPIC as collateral.

Following Monday's settlement, 1MDB said it will meet the obligations through liquidation of investment fund units.

Editor's Remarks: The two governments were at odds after a default in April 2016 over the repayment of bond obligations.

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The deal is conditional on the Arbitration Tribunal making a consent award by 31 May 2017.

Therefore, we urge the Prime Minister, who is also the Finance Minister, Najib Abdul Razak, to come clean on the discrepancy resulting from the "settlement" with IPIC, since Malaysians have now to pay more than double what was actually borrowed by 1MDB.

"This arbitration settlement and monetisation of investment fund units represents the resolution of a significant challenge, and is a major part of the 1MDB rationalisation plan, which is now at its final stages of conclusion".

1MDB tried to paint a rosy picture of the settlement - that the dispute has been resolved with no hard details. These funds were later distributed to associates of Datuk Seri Najib and business interests linked to a former representative of the Abu Dhabi government, Mr Khadem Al Qubaishi, according to the investigations.

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