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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Anwar questions Ambank's fundraising exercise, fears 1MDB link

 


Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has expressed concern over the timing of AMMB Holdings Berhad's (Ambank Group) plan to raise RM810 million via a proposed private placement exercise.

This came after The Edge reported that Ambank is holding a private placement exercise in hopes of raising an estimated RM810 million in short order, just over a month after it reached an RM2.83 billion settlement for its involvement in the 1MDB scandal.

According to its report today, a private equity fund controlled by Nazir Abdul Razak - who is waiting for Bank Negara approval for his appointment as Malaysia Development Bank Limited chairperson - is interested in taking up AmBank shares.

"The timing and the involvement of particular parties in Ambank's private placement exercise raise concerns about governance and transparency and we wish to know whether Bank Negara has conducted adequate due diligence to ensure this transaction meets the highest standards.

"Observers will wonder based on these facts whether the seeds of the next major financial sector scandal are being planted today by the actions of the Ministry of Finance and Bank Negara.

"In the absence of any parliamentary oversight it would be hard to argue the case otherwise," he said in a statement today, without naming Nazir.

Nazir, in his capacity as then chairperson of CIMB, had received RM25.7 million from his brother and the then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and disbursed to BN politicians ahead of the 2013 general elections. The money is alleged to have originated from 1MDB.

Nazir later said he had acted in good faith after being told the money was legitimate. An internal probe by the bank found no wrongdoing on Nazir's part, though it identified some "process shortcomings".

Meanwhile, Anwar expressed concern that 1MDB's spectre will continue to haunt Malaysia's potential investors unless more is done to restore their confidence.

"I am concerned by the absence of proactive steps to ensure confidence in the nation's financial system.

"Unfortunately, until all the ghosts of the 1MDB scandal are exorcised, Malaysia will remain the target of doubts from investors and other domestic and international financial institutions.

"This will further undermine confidence in the Malaysian economy which is already low due to the actions of the Perikatan Nasional government," said the Port Dickson MP. - Mkini

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