☕️ US DoJ to seize RM1.34 billion 1MDB funds from UK law firm

SoftBank's Vision Fund USD8 billion profit turnaround. Stockbroking firm ,Kenanga investing in a crypto exchange. Dating app, Bumble founded by ex-Tinder co-founder to raise USD1.8 billion IPO.

Know more, learn more. Be smarter in 3 minutes.

The underlined words are links! Click on them to the news article.

1. MARKET SUMMARY


2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

Maybank expects 1.7 million e-Angpao transactions during this CNY via their MAE app, vs 840,000 last year. Are you going to jump on the bandwagon?

60% of Selangor roads have “past due date”, as they were last upgraded 30-40 years ago. Roads usually reach maturity within 15 to 20 years.

US$108.6 billion — BNM’s international reserves as of end Jan ‘21, sufficient to finance 8.6 months of retained imports and 1.2 times of total short-term external debt.

S$138 million — the price of 5 penthouses at Marina Bay Residences which have been put collectively on the market, boasting total square footage of 28,258.


3. COVID-19 SUMMARY


4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾

  1. To recap, in the 1MDB-Tanore trial, former prime minister DS Najib Razak is facing four charges of abusing his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion, and 21 charges of money laundering involving RM4.3 billion.

    The trial resumed yesterday, with key prosecution witness — the former CEO Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman (pictured below) said Jho Low runs the troubled sovereign fund 1MDB. He said “As a CEO (in 1MDB), if you don’t do what’s asked, you leave.”

    On the other side of the world, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) issued an arrest warrant to a law firm in London for the seizure of RM1.34 billion allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB and held on behalf of a client.

    Meanwhile, Inland Board Revenue (LHDN) has filed a RM68 million claim against Jho Low’s right hand man Eric Tan Kim Loong for tax arrears from 2010 to 2013.

  2. Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd is acquiring 19% stake in digital asset exchange (DAX) operator Tokenize Technology (M) Sdn Bhd, one of the three licensed DAX by Securities Commission. Kenanga MD Datuk Chay Wai Leong said the group has been building a digital ecosystem to offer its customers a wide spectrum of financial products and services, including digital assets.

  3. Celcom Axiata Bhd has gone the extra mile in assisting the B40 families in People’s Housing Projects (PPR) by providing free wifi and extending operating hours of Pusat Internet Komuniti (PIK). Good on you Celcom!

  4. Unicef’s report revealed that unemployment rates among low-income urban folks doubled in the Klang Valley from 7% in Sept to 15% in Dec 2020, based on a survey of 500 households in KL’s low-cost flats.

  5. Malaysia’s manufacturing sales grew by 4.5% to RM124.6 billion in Dec 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019 where as the Industrial Production Index (IPI) grew by 1.7%. However, the nation’s 2020 IPI declined 4.2% when compared to 2019, for the first time since 2009.

  6. Health Passport” could pave the way for international travel as Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), the parent of Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), confirms that talks are underway with the local authorities. The challenge lies in having a uniform global approach in developing said passport.

  7. Two major Malaysian palm oil producers are facing more troubles as buyers from US, Europe, Australia, and Japan are asking to reduce or exclude products from FGV Holdings Bhd and Sime Darby Plantation Bhd over forced labour allegations.


5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎

  1. The hedge fund industry in China had a banner year in 2020 — the nearly 15,000 funds offered by Chinese fund managers returned an average of 30% in 2020, with the best performing fund returning 10x, dwarfing the average 12% gains for hedge funds globally and their Wall Street peers. The Chinese hedge fund market is estimated to be RMB3.8 trillion (USD588 billion), with local firms adding RMB1.3 trillion (USD201 billion) in assets last year. 

  2. VerSe Innovation, the Bytedance of India, the parent company of news app Dailyhunt (equivalent to Bytedance’s Toutiao) and short-form video app Josh (like TikTok) has raised more than USD100 million as part of its Series H from Qatar Investment Authority and Glade Brook Capital Partners. This came not too long after it raised USD100 million from Microsoft, Google and Alphawave back in December. It has raised about USD430 million to date. Dailyhunt has 285 million users each day whilst Josh has 85 million monthly active users and 40 million daily active users watching more than 1.5 billion video plays everyday. 

  3. Finally some positive news from Softbank - it posted a profit of JPY1.17 trillion (USD11 billion) in its latest quarter ending December with the Vision Fund contributing JPY884 billion (USD8 billion) due to rising valuation of some of its investments, largely the recently listed DoorDash. 

    "Only one year ago, everyone said the Vision Fund only lays rotten eggs. Most of the eggs actually came out in a golden color,"

    - Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank

    Meantime, Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank shared that he and Jack Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba, send each other drawings to keep in touch.

  4. 7-year old dating app, Bumble has upsized its IPO on NASDAQ from 34.5 million shares to 45 million shares to raise USD1.8 billion at a USD7 billion valuation. It has 42 million monthly users with 2.4 million paying users. Its distinct feature allows women to make the first move within 24 hours of a match.

    Fun fact: Bumble was founded by one of Tinder’s co-founders, Whitney Wolfe Herd after she was forced to resign from Tinder. Read here on Bumble’s history.

  5. The Queen of England seems to have her own dark financial secrets. Documents discovered by The Guardian showed that the Queen through her private lawyer was able to lobby the government in the 1970s to alter the law to conceal her private wealth from the public  through preventing her shareholdings from being disclosed to the public. 

  6. South Africa has put on hold the rollout of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after a study showed that it offered ‘minimal protection’ against mild and moderate cases of the virus. 

    In the US, the more contagious UK B.1.1.7 variant of the virus, is spreading quickly across the US, with cases doubling approximately every 10 days. 

Hope you enjoy reading our newsletter! Share this newsletter to your friends if it made you smarter today!