Two 1MDB-linked execs jailed in Abu Dhabi: WSJ

DUBAI • Two executives linked to a Malaysian wealth fund scandal were convicted of financial crimes and sentenced to prison in Abu Dhabi, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Khadem Al Qubaisi, who once headed Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co (Ipic), was handed a 15-year prison sentence; Mohammed Badawy Al Husseiny, a US citizen who ran a subsidiary of Ipic, was sentenced to 10 years' jail, according to the report.

They must jointly pay about US$336 million (S$461 million), the newspaper reported, citing a statement from the emirate's court.

The court statement did not identify the men by name, but people familiar with the judicial actions told the WSJ that the unidentified defendants were Al Qubaisi and Al Husseiny. It also cited sources as saying the convictions were not related to the Malaysian fund scandal.

Lawyers for both men and a representative of the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court declined to comment on the charges, the WSJ reported.

1Malaysia Development Berhad, set up by former prime minister Najib Razak to attract foreign investment, accumulated billions of dollars of debt after its 2009 inception and is at the centre of multiple investigations in relation to alleged corruption and money laundering.

Ipic and Aabar Investments last year alleged in a court filing that Goldman Sachs Group paid bribes to former fund officials, who, in exchange, "agreed to manipulate and mislead Ipic and Aabar, and to misuse the companies' names, networks and infrastructures, to further the criminal schemes and to personally benefit".

In Malaysia, Najib is facing seven charges tied to criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power involving SRC International, a former 1MDB subsidiary. He is also facing other charges related to the 1MDB scandal.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2019, with the headline 'Two 1MDB-linked execs jailed in Abu Dhabi: WSJ'. Print Edition | Subscribe