26
Apr
16

PetroSaudi’s US$1 billion ruse

PetroSaudi’s US$1 billion ruse

Barely a month after the Finance Ministry took over Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), a royal suitor came a-knocking.

On Aug 8, 2009, Prince Turki of Saudi Arabia sent a letter to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to introduce PetroSaudi International chief executive Tarek Obaid.

Tarek proposed a joint venture with the fund, now rebranded 1MDB. The deal – US$1 billion from 1MDB and some questionable “oil wells” in Argentina and Turkmenistan said to belong to PetroSaudi International.

But this was Tarek’s first introduction to the fund.

According to the Hansard of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearings on 1MDB, then chief executive officer Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi said Tarek was first introduced to TIA through TIA’s special advisor, businessman Jho Low.

Low’s involvement continued and at one point he showed up at a 1MDB board meeting to speak on behalf of Prince Turki and Tarek to convince the skittish board to sign off on the joint venture.

Ten days after the board first heard of the deal, it was signed on Sept 28, 2009 – leaving the board “angry” and prompting board member Bakke Mohd Saleh to resign.

“The Auditor-General’s Department’s analysis concludes that the decision to invest in the joint venture 1MDB PetroSaudi Limited was done without strategic planning due to the short period of eight days (lead time), was conducted without detailed evaluation and before issues raised by the board was resolved.

“The joint venture agreement also included clauses which did not protect 1MDB’s interest,” the Public Accounts Committee’s report table at the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday says.

Forty-eight hours after the joint venture was inked, an unrelated company – allegedly Low-linked Good Star Limited – is US$700 million richer.

How did this dubious deal take place under everyone’s noses? Follow the chronology of events below.

…more
PetroSaudi’s US$1 billion ruse
Malaysiakini

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