Another $1.4b payment from 1MDB to Abu Dhabi fund is missing: Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal reported that another US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) in payment from 1MDB to International Petroleum Investment Co is allegedly missing.
The Wall Street Journal reported that another US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) in payment from 1MDB to International Petroleum Investment Co is allegedly missing. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Another US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) in payment from Malaysia's state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) is allegedly missing, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said.

The latest report comes after the WSJ said last week that officials in Abu Dhabi were trying to understand why a US$1.4 billion transfer that 1MDB said it made to IPIC was not received.

The officials are now "questioning a further US$993 million that 1MDB reported it paid to the Abu Dhabi fund, the International Petroleum Investment Co., but which also appears to be largely missing, people familiar with the matter said," the WSJ reported.

Officials from 1MDB and IPIC did not respond to requests for comment, according to the report.

The link to the Abu Dhabi fund came in 2012, when it agreed to guarantee US$3.5 billion in bonds issued by 1MDB to fund the purchase of some power plants, according to the report. In return, IPIC was given options to buy a stake in those power assets.

But last year, both sides agreed to end the deal, with 1MDB agreeing to buy back the options for an undisclosed price, the report said.

"1MDB said it made a transfer of nearly US$1 billion to an IPIC subsidiary in November (2014) as partial payment for the options, according to copy of a draft report by Malaysia's auditor-general that was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

"Neither the financial records of IPIC, nor its wholly-owned subsidiary Aabar Investments PJSC, for 2014 mention of the receipt of the money," the WSJ reported.

The report, however, said the IPIC records state that 1MDB owes the firm US$481.3 million in outstanding payments for the options.

"It isn't clear how IPIC arrived at the US$481.3 million figure and how it relates to the nearly US$1 billion transfer 1MDB says it made to IPIC," the report added.

In response to the WSJ report last week about the "missing" US$1.4 billion transfer, 1MDB said its records show the payment was made.

The embattled Malaysian state investor has racked up RM42 billion (S$13.9 billion) in debt that has weighed on the country's economy.

Investigators are also looking into reports that nearly US$700 million was deposited into bank accounts that belonged to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The Malaysian leader has denied any wrongdoing.