Malaysia

The mysterious Malaysian financier at the center of an international money laundering scandal that toppled a prime minister and rocked Goldman Sachs has given up his claim to hundreds of millions of dollars in luxury apartments, yachts, jets and artwork that prosecutors say were bought with stolen money, the International New York Times reported.

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Offshore support vessel (OSV) operator Icon Offshore Bhd is making a cash call to raise up to RM250 million fresh capital and to restructure RM370.66 million of debt, partly by issue of new shares, The Edge reported. Its single largest shareholder Ekuinas Nasional Bhd, which holds its 42.3% stake through Hallmark Odyssey Sdn Bhd, is committed to subscribe up to RM183 million of the proposed rights issue that is sweetened by free warrants, Icon Offshore said in a statement. The commitment of RM183 million is equivalent to 73.2% of RM250 million intended to be raised.

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Five years after its annus horribilis, Malaysia Airlines is still struggling to survive, helped only by government largesse and the national carrier’s political importance, the Financial Times reported. There may be a lifeline in the form of a stake sale, but time is running out as market conditions sour, while moves to divest could leave the ruling coalition exposed to attack from its key rival. In March 2014, flight 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing mysteriously disappeared over the Indian Ocean, with 239 passengers and crew on board.

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The Federal Government has agreed to write off the loan given to the state government for the rural water supply project on 2001 onward, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today. He said the loan was based on the balance that had not been settled on December 31, 2018 with the total amount of RM3.8 billion, which was subject to the state government to finalise the restructuring of water supply by December 31, 2019 at the latest, Malay Mail reported.

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Malaysia’s state palm oil plantation agency, the Federal Land Development Authority, is seeking 6 billion ringgit ($1.5 billion) from the government to help turn itself around, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The request will be included in a white paper on the company scheduled to be introduced in parliament on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported, citing a source. If approved, the funds would be paid out in stages, the report said. Felda, as the state-owned company is known, has been struggling to pay down debt amid financial losses and corruption allegations.

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Malaysian billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan’s Bumi Armada Bhd. is nearing an agreement for a loan of around $500 million, people with knowledge of the matter said, in a deal that will give the embattled energy firm more time to restructure, Bloomberg News reported. Banks are finalizing details of a five-year credit facility, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The funds will be used to refinance existing debt that matures in May and for working capital, one of the people said.

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The laundry list of allegations against Malaysia’s former leader Najib Razak for his role in 1MDB points to a lengthy road ahead as his trial begins on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported. The 42 counts of corruption and money laundering charges offer a window into the complex web of transactions surrounding 1Malaysia Development Bhd., the state fund that lies at the center of globe-spanning investigations involving about $4.5 billion of allegedly misappropriated funds. The probes have led to dozens of allegations against Najib, who has pleaded not guilty, while ensnaring Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

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Senior Chinese leaders offered in 2016 to help bail out a Malaysian government fund at the center of a swelling, multibillion-dollar graft scandal, according to minutes from a series of previously undisclosed meetings reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Chinese officials told visiting Malaysians that China would use its influence to try to get the U.S. and other countries to drop their probes of allegations that allies of then-Prime Minister Najib Razak and others plundered the fund known as 1MDB, the minutes show, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Since becoming a symbol of Wall Street greed during the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs has tried to recast its image as an investment bank that cares as much about ethics as it does its bottom line, the New York Times reported. Now, that makeover is being undone by the bank’s work for an obscure investment fund in Malaysia, which has entangled it in civil and criminal investigations around the world. Goldman recently received subpoenas from New York regulators, held talks with federal prosecutors and is likely to incur billions of dollars in penalties.
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