1MDB's US$1.1b in BSI Bank 'in the form of assets in US dollar' - PM Najib

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KUALA LUMPUR, (May 20): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said 1Malaysia Development Bhd's (1MDB) US$1.1 billion (RM3.97 billion) parked at BSI Bank in Singapore was in the form of US dollar-denominated assets.

Najib told Parliament today that BSI Bank was the custodian of the assets for 1MDB. Najib is also finance minister and 1MDB's board of advisers' chairman.

"1MDB has explained that the redeemed investments of 1MDB are in the form of assets in US dollar in a bank in Singapore for the purpose of balancing the liability of the company's US dollar," said Najib in his written reply to a question by oppostion lawmaker Tony Pua.

Earlier, Pua had asked Najib whether 1MDB had parked US$1.1 billion cash redeemed from the Cayman Islands at BSI Bank in Singapore.

Today, Najib's reply that 1MDB's US$1.1 billion worth of US dollar-denominated assets at BSI Bank contradicts an earlier indication in March this year that 1MDB had parked cash at the bank.

News reports, quoting Malaysia's finance ministry, had earlier reported that 1MDB deposited the money it redeemed from the Cayman Islands into BSI Bank.

1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy was also quoted as saying that the company had placed its funds in the form of US dollars in Singapore instead of Malaysia as 1MDB planned to use the money to service its US dollar-denominated debt.

Today, Pua said during a press conference at Parliament lobby that Najib's response was an admission that 1MDB had not deposited cash into BSI Bank.

"What they did was they shifted the papers from Caymans into BSI in Singapore, there is no money," said Pua.