Arul Kanda: Wrongdoings already there when I joined

Justin Ong
Arul Kanda tried to depict his role in the troubled state investment firm as purely limited to the business end. — Picture by Mohd Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Tarred as “utterly dishonest and untrustworthy”, 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s Arul Kanda Kandasamy sought to salvage his reputation today by insisting the alleged wrongdoings at the firm occurred before he was recruited.

In a statement stressing that the sequence of events was incontrovertible, the 1MDB president tried to depict his role in the troubled state investment firm as purely limited to the business end.

“It cannot be disputed that I joined 1MDB only in January 2015, that is to say, after the actions of previous management and boards resulted in 1MDB amassing its debt burden, and after many of 1MDB's projects were in difficulties.

“In short, I came in only after the occurrence of the alleged wrongdoings cited in the PAC Report on 1MDB, the Auditor General Report on 1MDB and the DOJ civil suit,” he said in a statement.

Arul did not dispute the wrongdoings alleged or Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s conclusion that 1MDB was effectively insolvent and unable to service its billions of debt and interest payments on its own.

He did dispute Lim’s “unfair” remarks about his character, insisting that he answered the minister to the best of his knowledge and ability.

Arul maintained that he had been truthful during the meeting with Lim, but was hampered by his lack of access to supporting documents.

“More importantly, I strongly deny the potentially defamatory and personal attacks against me by the Minister of Finance.

“Therefore, in my personal capacity, not in relation to my employment and specifically only in relation to his statement, I have sought legal advice from my lawyers to advise me on my options,” he said.

Arul is among those barred from leaving the country over the 1MDB corruption scandal.

Following Lim’s revelations yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published a report today alleging that the Najib administration made Bank Negara Malaysia service US$500 million (RM2 billion) of 1MDB’s debt obligations last year.

This was in addition to the nearly RM7 billion paid directly by the Finance Ministry in 2017 to help 1MDB meet its scheduled debt and interest payments, according to Lim.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has ordered a full-scale investigation into the 1MDB corruption scandal in which his predecessor, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is deeply implicated.

Investigators repeatedly raided private residences linked to the former prime minister and have seized at least RM100 million in cash.