- 1MDB holds update call for US dollar denominated bondholders
- Malaysian Filmmakers Slam Red Granite as Embezzlement Scandal Grows
- Anwar Ibrahim, family move court on order banning physical contact during jail visits
Posted: 23 May 2016 07:57 PM PDT
The Edge Markets- 23 May 2016
KUALA LUMPUR: 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) today held an update call for the holders of its US dollar denominated bond following the default on the US$1.75 billion (RM7.15 billion) 1MDB Energy (Langat) Ltd papers (Langat Notes).
“During the call 1MDB provided a current update on the status of the bonds and outlined the next steps of the process.
“It discussed the background to 1MDB’s decision not to make the interest payment on the Langat Notes and updated (the bondholders) on the progress 1MDB has made on its rationalisation plan,” 1MDB said in a statement.
The troubled state investment fund said last month that a US$50 million interest payment due to holders of the Langat Notes was not made due to a dispute with International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC).
The dispute between the Abu Dhabi sovereign fund and 1MDB came about after at least US$3.5 billion that 1MDB was supposed to pay to IPIC’s subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS had “gone missing”.
The money was instead diverted to a British Virgin Islands company bearing a similar name to Aabar Investments PJS, but having no relation to IPIC.
1MDB said today that it had reiterated at the update call of its commitment to working openly with IPIC to resolve the dispute.
“1MDB is (also) committed to an open dialogue with (the bondholders) throughout this process and there will be further update calls held in due course,” it added.
Posted: 23 May 2016 07:55 PM PDT
Hollywoodreporter- 17 May 2016 (Patrick Brzeski and
As mounting allegations of corruption continue to engulf The Wolf of Wall Street producer Red Granite, figures from the Malaysian film industry have a message for the company’s Hollywood collaborators: Please, stop.
The morning after Woody Allen’s Cafe Society opened the Cannes Film Festival Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal published the latest in a series of reports implicating Red Granite in an alleged corruption scandal of historic proportions. As much as $7 billion is estimated to have gone missing from a state fund set up in 2009 to benefit the Malaysian people.
Founded by Riza Aziz, the stepson of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Red Granite is alleged to have received $238 million of siphoned state funds, some of which it then used to bankroll Martin Scorsese’s Wolf, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
A globe-spanning FBI investigation into the alleged misappropriation is ongoing — as are Red Granite’s glamorous film business activities. The company is stationed in Cannes aboard a rented luxury yacht named Indulgence of Poole, from which it has been holding sales meetings for its next film, Papillon, starring Charlie Hunnam.
Red Granite has said it is cooperating with all inquiries and “to its knowledge, none of the funding received by Red Granite was in any way irregular or illegitimate."
The Hollywood Reporter reached out to several prominent figures from the Malaysia film community to get their thoughts on the Red Granite situation.
Prominent Malaysian filmmaker and political activist Hishamuddin Rais, speaking to THR by phone from Kuala Lumpur, said Hollywood directors and producers should “be more concerned” where the money invested in their films was coming from, saying there was a “process of money laundering” going on.
On May 16, Rais stood trial in Kuala Lumpur on sedition charges stemming from a speech he gave criticizing Malaysia’s controversial 2013 elections, which restored Prime Minister Razak’s right-wing Barisan Nasional party to power. Public discourse in Malaysia is closely monitored and controlled; the country ranks 148th of 182 countries — behind nations such as Afghanistan and Myanmar — in Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.
“Having seen him rub shoulders with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio is exciting to some extent,” said a veteran Malaysian film buyer in Cannes when asked about Aziz. “But we do ask where the hell he got his money. No one really knows yet what happened, but the links appear to be there and there are questions marks all over the place.” (The individual requested not to be named; when THR asked whether such statements could jeopardize the individual’s personal safety, the person replied: “Are you kidding me? If I shared [this news] on Facebook it would probably go viral in Malaysia and I wouldn’t be able to go home.”)
Contacted by phone in Kuala Lumpur, an influential Malaysian producer urged Hollywood companies to consider what their ongoing cooperation with Red Granite means in the bigger picture.
“Instead of asking Malaysians how they feel about this news, I would like to ask film producers there how they feel about it,” the producer said. “As long as Hollywood continues to work with them, they will retain an air of invincibility here — it sends a signal. It tells people that nobody cares and they will just get away with it.”
Nurul Izzah, a sitting member of Malaysia’s parliament and the daughter of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister, added: “I can't believe Hollywood can justify and validate these ongoing allegations by shamelessly supporting [Red Granite], whether by investing in [their] movies or buying rights.”
Red Granite’s highest-profile collaborator to date, DiCaprio, has yet to publicly comment on the scandal. According to a source in Cannes (who didn’t want to be named), Red Granite has told buyers privately that DiCaprio is attached to star in a forthcoming George Washington biopic, The General, which the company is developing. Red Granite has denied that he is involved.
Regardless, voices in Malaysia have a message for the star. “Before you go into any project, you must also, Mr. Leonardo DiCaprio, make sure you know where the money is coming from,” Rais told THR on the eve of his trial.
“If he is speaking to the United Nations on global warming, he should also be speaking about [this], because global warming is interconnected with corruption in third-world countries,” he added.
THR reached out to DiCaprio’s publicist.
The full statement from Red Granite reads:
“Red Granite has received hundreds of millions of dollars in financings over the last six years from a variety of sources, including top-tier U.S. commercial and investment banks. During this time, Red Granite's films have generated close to $1 billion in worldwide box office receipts. To its knowledge, none of the funding received by Red Granite was in any way irregular or illegitimate. Red Granite is cooperating fully with all inquiries and is confident that when the facts come out, it will be clear that neither Riza Aziz nor Red Granite has done anything wrong. In the meantime, Mr. Aziz and Red Granite will continue moving forward with exciting new projects.”
Posted: 23 May 2016 07:43 PM PDT
International Business Times- 19 May 2016 (Samhati Bhattacharjya)
Jailed Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim’s family has lodged an appeal against the prison director’s decision to deny physical contact during jail visits.
Anwar, his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, their four children and four grandchildren filed the application on Wednesday for a judicial review of the decision by Sungai Buloh prison authorities.
The family named Sungai Buloh prison director Commissioner-General of Prisons and Home Minister as respondents, the court papers showed.
The application filed by counsel N Surendran and Latheefa Koya seeks an order quashing the prison director’s decision that bans physical contact between Anwar and his family members.
Anwar claimed that under the prison rules he was allowed visits from his family once in every three weeks and the communication with them was done via a telephone. “During these visits, my family is made to sit across from me. We are separated by a glass partition. This partition allows no physical contact between myself and my family,” said Anwar.
Anwar and his family members have said that the denial of physical contact was unnecessary, cruel and oppressive.
Anwar is serving a five years’ jail sentence after he was found guilty of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
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