Malaysia seeks $35 million private jet linked to 1MDB scandal

Financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, bought the Bombardier Global 5000 jet for $35.4 million in 2010 using funds allegedly taken from 1Malaysia Development Berhad. (Reuters)
Updated 13 August 2018
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Malaysia seeks $35 million private jet linked to 1MDB scandal

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is seeking to repossess a $35 million private jet owned by financier Low Taek Jho as part of investigations into a multibillion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Sunday.
The financier, also known as Jho Low, bought the Bombardier Global 5000 jet for $35.4 million in 2010 using funds allegedly taken from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has said.
Authorities in Malaysia and the United States are investigating how billions of dollars went missing from 1MDB. The DOJ says over $4.5 billion was misappropriated from the fund, with some of the money used to buy the private jet, a superyacht, Picasso paintings, jewelry and real estate.
Last week, the $250 million superyacht Equanimity, which the DOJ says was also bought by Jho Low, was handed over to Malaysia by Indonesia, which had seized the asset earlier this year.
When asked if Malaysia would also seek to take possession of the Bombardier Global 5000 jet, Mahathir said: “Yes, I think so. We have to bring it back,” state news agency Bernama reported on Sunday.
The jet was grounded last year in Singapore, according to some media reports. Singapore has not confirmed it has the jet.
Singapore’s foreign ministry and a representative for Low did not immediately have a comment.
Malaysian authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Low, whose whereabouts are unknown. Low, whose Malaysian passport has been revoked, has previously denied any wrongdoing.
A spokesman for Low’s legal team has said the handing over of the Equanimity yacht to Malaysia was illegal and in violation of Indonesian and US court orders.
In civil lawsuits filed in the United States, the DOJ is seeking to seize assets that were allegedly bought with 1MDB money.


Egypt stock market plunges as retail investors take flight

Updated 19 September 2018
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Egypt stock market plunges as retail investors take flight

  • Biggest index drop in Egypt since mid-2016
  • Saudi Arabia outperforms in Gulf

LONDON: Egyptian stocks tumbled to their lowest level this year on Wednesday as retail investors took flight.
A sharp rise in Suez Canal revenues, a major foreign exchange earner for the country, was not enough to quell investors concerns about the strength of the currency.
The main Egyptian stock index lost 3.8 percent which some fund managers blamed on generally negative sentiment toward emerging markets worldwide as well as more local speculation about possible currency devaluation.
“Our channel checks suggest the sell-off in the Egyptian market is local retail and institutions driven, on currency fears and speculation over a further round of devaluation,” said Vrajesh Bhandari, portfolio manager at Al Mal in Dubai, Reuters reported.
“Selling is further intensified as margin calls are triggered and technical support levels break down. The country canceled three consecutive Treasury auctions, citing investors’ unrealistic yield demands.”
Egypt’s Suez Canal revenues rose to $502.2 million in August up 6.7 percent from a year earlier according to official data released on Wednesday.
Elsewhere regional stock markets closed mostly lower with the exceptions of Abu Dhabi which edged 0.2 percent higher and Saudi Arabia, the best regional performer, which rose by 1.1 percent.
Saudi stocks are benefiting from the strong oil price which eased slightly yesterday but still hovered just under $79.
OPEC and some other oil producers including Russia will meet in Algeria on Sept. 23 to discuss how to allocate supply increases within their quota framework to offset the loss of oil exports from Iran following the introduction of sanctions by the US.
Those measures will come into force on Nov. 4 and data suggests that buyers are already retreating from Iranian crude purchases.
A key question for the oil price as well as regional stock markets in the weeks ahead will be the extent to which other Gulf oil exporters can compenaste for the loss of Iranian supplies by pumping more.