The mystery over who controlled a British Virgin Islands-registered company that received $3.5 billion from Malaysia's scandal-tainted state fund 1MDB deepened on Monday when a company in the Middle East with an almost identical name said the BVI firm did not belong to it.
Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund, International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC), and its subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS said in a joint statement the BVI firm with an almost identical name, Aabar Investments PJS Ltd., "was not an entity within either corporate group."
They had neither received any payments from the BVI company, which was wound up last June, nor assumed any liabilities on its behalf, the statement said.
A Malaysian parliamentary committee investigating 1MDB said in a report released on Thursday that the Malaysian sovereign fund sent a total of $3.5 billion to "Aabar BVI."
What happened to the money after it went to the British Virgin Islands could not be determined, the report said.
The 1MDB fund is solely owned by the Ministry of Finance. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also finance minister, was authorized to sign off on the fund's major transactions, according to the parliamentary report. Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing.