Asia

Malaysia's scandal-plagued former prime minister Najib Razak is facing bankruptcy for allegedly failing to pay more than $400 million in taxes, which could bring his political career to an end, Agence-France Presse reported. Najib lost power in 2018 when his party, which had governed the Southeast Asian nation for six decades, was defeated at the polls after he became embroiled in a financial scandal.
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China’s 36 million university students are starting to learn what it’s like to live without easy credit, Bloomberg News reported. Last month authorities effectively shuttered student access to the once ubiquitous online loan industry, a sprawling collection of apps, fintechs and other unregulated lenders. Internet platforms were told to stop offering online loans to students and unwind existing credit. Banks will need to seek regulatory approval before promoting such loans on campus.
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Japanese regulators will heighten scrutiny on high-risk trades by domestic financial institutions in the wake of the Archegos fallout, the Nikkei business daily reported on Wednesday. Top investment bank and brokerage, Nomura Holdings, was one of the highest-profile casualties while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) warned of a loss of around $270 million. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) will scrutinise how financial institutions that incurred losses had been managing transaction risks, the Nikkei said.
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India’s move to allow smaller firms to use a more efficient bankruptcy filing system opens the door for the broader adoption of a process that may help the country to tackle one the world’s worst bad debt problems, Bloomberg News reported. An executive order by the federal government on Sunday means that SMEs can now work out a resolution with creditors before they reach court. Market participants are pressuring authorities to allow larger companies to use this prepackaged system in order to speed up the process in India, where cases often languish for years.

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China’s efforts to get its people spending got a boost over the three-day traditional tomb-sweeping holiday, with official and private data showing travel back up to pre-coronavirus levels by some metrics, the Wall Street Journal reported. Swaths of China’s economy, in particular manufacturing and exports, long ago regained their pre-virus levels. But consumer spending, held back by travel restrictions and caution over the possibility of a resurgence, has been a persistent laggard for the past year.
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An Indian court on Tuesday said that China’s ByteDance must deposit around $11 million that federal authorities believe the company owes in an alleged case of tax evasion, a setback for the firm which wanted to unblock its bank accounts to pay salaries, Reuters reported. An Indian tax intelligence agency in mid-March ordered HSBC and Citibank in Mumbai to freeze accounts of ByteDance India as it probed some of the firm’s financial dealings. ByteDance challenged the move in court saying the freeze amounted to harassment and was done illegally.
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The Central Government has promulgated Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 to allow pre-packaged insolvency process for MSMEs, the Economic Times of India reported. The Ordinance, in essence, has amended the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 and allows the Central Government to notify such pre packaged process for defaults of not more than Rs 1 crore. The government had been looking to offer a pre-packaged resolution framework for stressed companies under the IBC.
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A ruling on a request to freeze the assets of Lim Oon Kuin and his two children following the collapse of Lim’s oil trading firm Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd will be made at a later date, following a whole day’s hearing at the Singapore High Court, Reuters reported. Court-appointed liquidators of Hin Leong had asked the court to freeze the family’s assets worldwide, from multi-million-dollar homes to country club memberships, shares and funds to recover money owed to nearly two dozen banks and other creditors globally.
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Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s largest pension pot, considers the impact of its investments on markets and isn’t distorting the country’s stocks, said Hirohide Yamaguchi, the newly appointed chairman of the fund’s board of governors, Bloomberg News reported. Yamaguchi, a former deputy governor of the Bank of Japan, said also that it was important to look at the fund’s long-term returns, rather than focusing on the short-term. He spoke in Tokyo at his first press conference since taking the role last week.
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