June 9, 2017 / 11:13 AM / 9 months ago

Unit of Malaysia's Felda Global shelves $350 mln Islamic bond issue - IFR

KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 (Reuters) - An investment holding company of Felda Global Ventures Holdings has shelved plans to sell an Islamic bond in Malaysia, IFR reported on Friday, after investigators raided the parent FGV’s headquarters following allegations of corruption.

FGV Seri Costa had filed 1.5 billion ringgit ($352 million) sukuk wakalah programme with Malaysia’s securities regulator and sole arranger Maybank was finalising documents for a bond issue, IFR said. The sale is likely to be suspended indefinitely amid uncertainties at the parent firm, IFR added, citing bankers.

FGV was not immediately available for a comment.

The world’s No.3 palm plantation group has begun an internal probe into some transactions at a subsidiary, while FGV’s board suspended its Chief Executive Officer Zakaria Arshad and three others earlier this week.

The CEO has denied wrongdoing and called on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to conduct its own investigation. Officials from MACC spent nearly eight hours at FGV’s headquarters on Thursday, seizing documents and interviewing company officials.

“MACC is currently in the process of reviewing the documents that were seized to collect evidence relating to the investigation before further action is taken,” MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner Azam Baki said in a statement.

“MACC will begin to call witnesses and individuals involved to help with the investigation shortly,” he added.

The investigation focuses on six issues involving FGV, he said, without providing any details.

Turmoil at FGV - whose biggest shareholder is state-owned Federal Land Development Authority - could hurt Prime Minister Najib Razak, who government sources say is expected to call elections later this year.

FGV shareholders, many of them small landowners, form a key vote bank for Najib’s ruling alliance in battleground states.

$1 = 4.2635 ringgit Reporting by Kit Yin Boey for IFR and Emily Chow, writing by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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