Anwar says govt may renegotiate UK’s Battersea purchase

13-Jun-2018 Intellasia | | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Putrajaya will be reviewing the purchase of Battersea Power Station, the biggest property deal in the UK, as part of its investigations into dubious investments made by the Najib administration, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told The Guardian.

Anwar, who is on a visit to London to meet British ministers, told the UK daily that a series of deals paid for by national sovereign funds and pension funds needed another look and might be renegotiated if there were evidence of wrongdoing.

“All these deals which are considered dubious, including investments in housing in London, will have to be investigated. Yes, that includes Battersea. Because they were made using state funds. We have to be convinced that this was the right investment decision and that there was no political influence or direction [within Malaysia],” Anwar was quoted saying.

Anwar, who was released from prison last month after Pakatan Harapan come into power, claimed the previous government helmed by Datuk Seri Najib Razak had used the savings from Malaysians to cover up the multi billion-dollar embezzlement scandal at sovereign investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

“It’s clearly a political decision to invest. If there is something wrong then we will want to renegotiate. We are looking at umpteen deals extending to hundreds of billions of ringgit that is tens of billions of dollars.

“You look at every deal from housing in London to railways built by China. It’s baffling to me and I was monitoring the policies of Najib and attacking him ferociously. But even I am shocked to the extent he seems to have gone to earn more to cover up the 1MDB fiasco.”

In January, Permodalan Nasional Berhad, a state fund, agreed to buy a direct stake from other Malaysian shareholders in the power station next to the Thames, valuing the building at GBP 1.6billion.

The site, which will be home to Apple’s new UK headquarters, is in the process of being acquired by Malaysian state entities.

The Battersea project is 17 hectares (42 acres) and includes more than 4,000 new homes. Malaysian state-owned companies are the developers of the other five phases of the project, which is due to be completed by 2028.

Anwar’s statement is expected to raise questions about the British government’s commitment to fighting corruption, following claims that the money trail of the 1MDB fraud ran through London, with $1.83 billion (RM7.3 billion) of Malaysia’s cash funnelled into a Saudi-British company.

“There was no attempt by British authorities to investigate. But this was a crime using sovereign wealth funds for reckless spending sprees. I am seeking support from the British government and from the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson,” he said.

“I say to Britain: you talk about transparency and anti-corruption drives, now is the time for action. I am saying now allow the institutions to conduct investigations fairly and give the necessary cooperation.”

Anwar pointed out that in Singapore, people have gone to prison and banks have been closed down for their role in laundering 1MDB cash.

“Look, the last Malaysian government did not want the British to be involved. But we are now giving them a mandate to investigate,” The Guardian quoted Anwar saying.

According to Anwar’s office, the former Opposition leader who has again become the prime minister-in-waiting is on a four day visit to London at the invitation of former US vice-president Al Gore.

He attended a breaking of fast event with the Muslim Council of Great Britain where he spoke of the May 9 elections and the process of democratic transition in the Muslim world.

He also attended a series of UK government and parliamentary meetings to discuss the recent transition of power in Malaysia and how to enhance bilateral relations.

During a meeting with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Johnson told Anwar that the UK government will support investigations pertaining to the 1MDB corruption scandal including the repatriation of assets seized in the UK.

Anwar also met with global health expert from St George’s University of London, Professor Sanjeev Krishna and London mayor Sadiq Khan.


Category: Malaysia

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