Thanks to 1MDB trying to deflect the allegations levelled at them, the public now has received more information which finally shed light into the murky business deals which 1MDB was involved in.
1MDB’s strategy is simple. Deflect and spin their replies to give the impression that they had answered all questions. This very disturbing strategy is now a trend which will prevail in all of their press releases.
Even in one of their first business forays was mired with corporate abuse, misappropriation of funds and absence of corporate governance.
Below is the chronology of that business foray, the 1MDB – PetroSaudi venture. Note that since 1MDB issued this information via their press release on their own accord, we can believe that all the information given were hopefully true.
Now let us try to understand what had happened:
18 September 2009 – a JV Co was incorporated by PetroSaudi Holdings (Cayman) Ltd (“PSH”) with or without the knowledge of 1MDB.
25 September 2009 – assets (rights to oil fields) worth USD2.7 billion was transferred to JV Co and JV Co is now indebted to PSH, USD700 million for the asset transfer; with or without the knowledge of 1MDB.
29 September 2009 – 1MDB entered into the JV Co via the joint venture agreement and USD1 billion cash (RM3.4 billion) was pumped in immediately by 1MDB into the JV Co. 1MDB gets 40% while PSH holds 60%.
30 September 2009 – As part of the agreement, USD700 million (RM2.38 billion) was paid from that RM3.4 billion of 1MDB’s cash into PSH.
Why 1MDB agreed to pay money for a deal that was agreed before they joined in the JV Co, is unclear and of course, common sense dictates it was a stupid move.
This massive transfer of money happened in a period of just 12 days. Bear in mind that according to industry practice, an independent valuation of assets or any due diligence of this size will take on average, at least a month to complete.
Do note that the JV Co’s objective is to “seek, explore, and participate in business and economic opportunities which result in the enhancement and promotion of the future prosperity and long-term sustainable economic development of Malaysia. It is expected to actively make investments in the renewable energy sector.”
-slightly more than 5 months later-
March 10 2010 – 1MDB terminated the business venture stated above. It is not illogical to think that the whole thing was just a scam to siphon out USD700 million from 1MDB. Upon termination, instead of getting back the cash as any ordinary shareholder would get, the JV Co gave ‘murabaha’ notes in return for cash to 1MDB. In layman terms, since the JV Co do not have cash of USD1 billion, they issued an IOU papers to 1MDB to be claimed at a later date.
So the business venture ended. Logically any business deal should have stopped between them.
Sometime in 2010 – 1MDB gave the JV Co USD500 million (RM1.7 billion) for additional murabaha notes. 1MDB stated they are ‘investing’ in this JV Co which they had opted out back in March 2010. In other words, they continued giving money to this JV Co like a moneylender, in return for some more IOU papers.
May 2011 – 1MDB gave another USD300 million (RM1.02 billion) to the JV Co for God knows what reason, and the JV Co issued further murabaha notes in exchange for the cash. Note that 1MDB was not mandated to be a moneylender. Plus, JV Co was not incorporated to be a fund manager.
Up to this point, 1MDB has pumped in USD1.83 billion (RM6.22 billion) cash into a company which had done absolutely nothing. Did the JV Co make any active investments in renewable energy sector in Malaysia? Has anybody heard of 1MDB Petrosaudi Limited here in Malaysia? That is the name of the JV Co.
-13 months after the last tranche of money given to JV Co-
June 1 2012 – the USD1.83 billion was redeemed. We thought that FINALLY, 1MDB could get their cash money back but that is not to be. The JV Co converted the murabaha notes into share certificates of another shelf company called PetroSaudi Oil Services Ltd (“PSOS”)! The best part is, they revalued these IOU notes upwards to USD2.22 billion (RM7.55 billion).
This new value was agreed between themselves. Unfortunately, we do not know what PSOS does. And how did they come to the figure USD2.22 billion. If there was an independent financial firm assessing the value, we want to know which firm was doing it.
-4 months later-
September 12, 2012 – 1MDB sold their stake in PSOS just 4 months later for USD2.312 billion (RM7.86 billion). And their share certificates were magically turned into ‘units’ which then owned by 1MDB subsidiary called Brazen Sky. What is the relationship between Brazen Sky and PSOS is unclear. Brazen Sky is just another company newly incorporated by 1MDB in August 2012 to handle this massive labyrinth of paper trail.
Cash was given to JV Co. But 1MDB who supposedly get their money back only received non cash items called ‘units’ which was borned out of share certificates, which originally came from IOU notes.
We can imagine a lofty business deal which was made by the billions were terminated just 6 months after it began but money kept flowing into that JV Co all the way to 2012.
What is more infuriating, 1MDB had the audacity to say that all their investments in the bogus companies gained a profit of USD488 million (USD2.312 billion minus USD1.83 billion)!
To all those who can’t think further beyond their self interests, that is USD2.312 billion worth of made up units, not cash. The profit of USD488 million was just paper profits.
1MDB should call up PSH to get back their cash worth RM7.86 billion back. But that is now water under the bridge. 1MDB have let PetroSaudi conned their money. Question is, what did JV Co do with all that cash?
The cow 1MDB had were sold to get beans. Not magical beans, but dodgy beans.
Note that these ‘beans’ are classified as Level 3 by their external auditor in terms of valuing their fair values. Level 3 is the lowest form of financial instrument where its valuation are derived from unobservable data. In layman terms, very difficult to determine its exact worth, or if they are worth anything at all.
The absence of governance, compounded by the intent to deceive will make any company lose money.
Can we not see the deceit and the shady multi-layered transactions made in order to cover up the money trail?
Can we once again see the money that was lost in the merry go round of schemes concocted by 1MDB?
We doubt it.
Otherwise, 1MDB could have easily paid their interests instead of getting stand by credit from the MOF or getting IPIC to rescue them. This is how 1MDB lost liquidity; for ‘investments’ they made in bogus companies.
Now who authorised all these transactions?
Maybe 1MDB could shed more light into this scandal. Mind you, this is not the only shady business deal 1MDB is involved in.
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