1MDB not seeking China's help: Chairman

Malaysia's Finance Ministry secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah has denied that iMDB had sought help from China to settle the sum involved in the court dispute with Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund.
Malaysia's Finance Ministry secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah has denied that iMDB had sought help from China to settle the sum involved in the court dispute with Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund.PHOTO: THE STAR

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian state fund 1MDB's court dispute with Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund over a US$6.5 billion (S$9.2 billion) claim is still "ongoing", with the 1MDB chairman yesterday denying the firm had sought help from China to settle the sum.

"I am the chairman of 1MDB, and as I know, there is no such thing as us talking to China about this," said Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, who is also the Finance Ministry secretary-general.

"Nobody has spoken to me about it."

He said this when asked by reporters to respond to a Financial Times (FT) report that 1Malaysia Development Bhd was enlisting China's help to settle a multi-billion-dollar dispute with Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).

FT reported on Wednesday that China has been approached as a source of funds for 1MDB. The business newspaper cited three people with knowledge of the matter, one of whom said Malaysia would swap assets for financing.

Mr Mohd Irwan said "no outcome yet" had been reached between the two companies after IPIC filed a lawsuit in June. 1MDB is owned by the Finance Ministry.

The 1MDB-IPIC spat arose from a bailout deal last year in which IPIC agreed to provide US$1 billion to 1MDB in an assets transfer deal.

IPIC also assumed interest obligations on US$3.5 billion of the Malaysian fund's debt.

But the Emirati firm claimed in April that 1MDB had not repaid the US$1 billion advance and in June applied for arbitration in London.

Last year, 1MDB's Edra Global Energy was sold to China General Nuclear Power Corp for RM17 billion in November.

A few weeks later, China Railway Engineering Corp bought a stake in the Bandar Malaysia development, which gave it a 24 per cent stake, for RM12.4 billion.

Trinna Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2016, with the headline '1MDB not seeking China's help: Chairman'. Print Edition | Subscribe