In a statement on Saturday, the group executive director said he “looks forward” to being questioned in detail and "put the matter to rest" and respond to the allegations in the Sarawak Report article when the Public Accounts Committee meets.
Arul said the article had published selectively extracted materials and contains “serious and unfounded allegations” but confirmed the online portal "appears to have published an authentic 1MDB document, namely minutes of a Jan 12, 2015 board meeting."
“This was the first 1MDB Board meeting I attended, i.e. a week after I joined the company on Jan 5 2015,” said Arul.
At the said meeting, Arul told the board that the redemption of fund units happened in cash for an amount of USD940mil, a statement he made based on his understanding of events that happened before his time.
“However, upon further investigation and verification, it became clear that this was a misunderstanding, which I then clarified to the Board and our shareholder, the Ministry of Finance. “This clarification is clearly recorded in subsequent Board minutes and can be verified,” he added.
Arul said he had also confirmed the remaining amount of USD1.1bil had been redeemed in full via a press statement on Jan 13 this year.
“What was unfortunately not made clear, was that the redemptions happened partly in cash and partly through the sale of fund units, with cash payment being deferred,” he said.
On Nov 14 and Nov 24 last year, approximately USD170mil of the USD1.11bil fund units were redeemed, in cash, leaving a balance of approximately USD940mil in fund units.
Prior to Arul joining 1MDB, a final redemption of approximately USD940 million was undertaken through a sale of fund units to Aabar on Jan 2, 2015, with cash payment being deferred.
Arul said this important distinction caused a misinterpretation of his statement on two other occasions in 2015 - first during a Business Times interview on Feb 9, and by the Finance Ministry in a Parliamentary answer on March 12.
“I have explained in detail the sequence of events to the National Audit Department and to 1MDB's auditors, Deloitte, as part of their thorough and professional review of 1MDB's past transactions,” said Arul, who stated that he had made an open and public claim of responsibility in June 2015 for the misunderstanding.
“In my capacity as President, I answer to the Board and the shareholder of 1MDB. My strong track record speaks for itself and my only professional agenda is to fix the challenges in 1MDB.
“There is no need for me to lie or cover-up what has happened in the past, as has been alleged by those who make sensationalist claims to drive their own political agenda,” he added.
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