Despite having verified that the US$35.4 million aircraft was bought from stolen Malaysian funds 1MDB, the Singapore police refused to hand over the aircraft back to Malaysia claiming there is “no official request”.
The Singapore Police played hard ball and threatened that Malaysia will have to follow Singapore’s “legal framework” if they want their aircraft back:
“Singapore has not received any formal request from the Malaysian authorities seeking the return of the aircraft. Any such request, along with others for the return of seized 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)-related assets, will be dealt with in accordance with Singapore’s legal framework.”
Earlier on Sunday (Aug 12), Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced that he will getting the aircraft back to Malaysia in an attempt to recover the stolen Malaysia state funds.
According to investigations by the US Department of Justice and the Malaysian authorities, Singapore is a key culprit assisting businessman Jho Low and former Prime Minister Najib Razak steal the 1MDB state funds. Eight Singapore banks were involved with laundering US$3.5 billion from 1MDB, involving several Singapore government-owned banks like DBS, UOB and Standard Chartered.
The Bombardier Global 5000 bought by Jho Low in 2010 costed US$35.4 million and it was parked in Singapore’s Seletar Airport. It is unknown how many years the Singapore government kept the aircraft for, and whether if the Singapore government paid for any maintenance to the aircraft.
Just last week, a super yacht costing US$250 million was handed over from the Indonesian government to Malaysia. Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced that the yacht would be sold to the highest bidder in the market. The Indonesian government cooperated fully with their Malaysian counterparts and there was no similar resistance put up by the Singapore government.