KUALA LUMPUR: Embattled 1MDB Chief Arul Kanda, his company increasingly under attack worldwide, has denied telling Bloomberg News that he was quitting the beleaguered Ministry of Finance (MoF) owned strategic investment and development arm.
“The answer is No,” said Arul Kanda in a WhatsApp message. “What I told Bloomberg was that my job is done i.e. all agreements signed for rationalization and Edra has been completed.”
“That’s what I briefly told them.”
The 1MDB Chief added that some media also called him, “Asked if I was resigning? The answer is No.”
Arul Kanda took up his job at 1MDB last year and walked into the crossfire of the country’s biggest political crisis since Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak came to power in 2009.
“I only signed up for one-third of what I ended up doing,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg at 1MDB headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
“I did not sign up for the investigations because that happened after I joined. I definitely didn’t sign up for the politics that I had to deal with.”
Arul Kanda came in January 2015 when the debt-ridden fund was teetering on the edge of default. Within months the company became embroiled in allegations of financial irregularities that sparked probes in Malaysia, Singapore and Switzerland.
1MDB, whose advisory board is headed by Najib, has consistently denied wrongdoing.
Arul Kanda echoed statements by Najib and other government officials that the allegations are unfounded and politically-motivated. He said 1MDB had not been contacted by any foreign legal authorities to help with investigations.
Arul Kanda said that his job was to turn 1MDB around and sort out its debt.
“From my perspective, I am done,” said Arul Kanda, a lawyer by training. “Everything’s signed. Legal agreements are there, they are binding. I am ‘leaving the company’ with available funds.”
1MDB will repay RM6 billion ringgit (USD1.5 billion) in the next three weeks, leaving it free of short-term debt and bank loans and with at least RM2.3 billion in the bank, Arul Kanda told Bloomberg.
The company announced last week the settlement of a RM700 million syndicated term loan. 1MDB will also sign a term sheet for the development of its land parcel in Penang in about two weeks.
“We don’t need any money from our shareholders to get us to 2039 when the last bonds are due,” said Arul Kanda, who signed up for a three-year term at the company. “There’s no bailout of 1MDB.”