The Port Fund de­nounces state­ment by KPA GM

Kuwait Times - - Business -

KUWAIT: The Port Fund de­nounced yes­ter­day mis­state­ments from the Gen­eral Man­ager of the Kuwait Ports Au­thor­ity (KPA), Sheik Yousef AlAb­dul­lah, made in a CNBC Ara­bia in­ter­view aired on Tues­day, Jan­uary 8, 2018 re­gard­ing The Port Fund and its ef­forts to dis­trib­ute $496 mil­lion to its in­vestors and oth­ers owed the monies.

To The Port Fund’s sur­prise, the KPA Gen­eral Man­ager stated that the name of the ac­count holder at Noor Bank, Port Link GP, was “un­known” to the KPA even though the le­gal doc­u­ments gov­ern­ing the Fund, signed by the KPA and all other Fund in­vestors, ex­pressly au­tho­rize “Port Link GP” to act as the

Fund’s Gen­eral Part­ner and to con­duct its busi­ness. Con­trary to the KPA Gen­eral Man­ager’s sug­ges­tion, the $496 mil­lion wired to Port Link GP’s ac­count at Noor Bank clearly be­longs to The Port Fund and can be dis­trib­uted to in­vestors from that ac­count.

The Fund con­firms that the state­ments made by KPA’s Gen­eral Man­ager dur­ing a tele­vised in­ter­view are in­ac­cu­rate and con­flict with the of­fi­cial po­si­tion of the Kuwait Gov­ern­ment and the Kuwait At­tor­ney Gen­eral, who is work­ing to have Dubai promptly re­lease the funds back to Port Link GP and al­low it to pay the Kuwait in­vestors and oth­ers.

Con­trary to the KPA Gen­eral Man­ager’s state­ment that the KPA’s in­vest­ment in The Port Fund was “lost”, other Kuwaiti of­fi­cials rec­og­nize that the funds were never lost or stolen but are cur­rently frozen in an ac­count at Noor Bank in the name of the Fund’s Gen­eral Part­ner, Port Link GP.

The Port Fund was sur­prised with The KPA Gen­eral Man­ager’s state­ments that the KPA did not rec­og­nize an $11 mil­lion

pay­ment pre­vi­ously sent to the KPA from a sub­sidiary of The Port Fund, sug­gest­ing that The Port Fund has not paid any money to the KPA since it in­vested in The Port Fund, which is fac­tu­ally in­cor­rect.

Mark Wil­liams, In­vest­ment Di­rec­tor of the Fund called on KPA Gen­eral Man­ager “to cor­rect these mis­state­ments in or­der to avoid any fur­ther con­fu­sion or de­lay in Dubai’s re­lease of the funds, which will only con­tinue to harm the KPA, the Pub­lic In­sti­tu­tion for So­cial Se­cu­rity, and other Port Fund in­vestors.” Wil­liams added, “Kuwait gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have been work­ing to have Dubai re­lease these funds and such in­cor­rect in­for­ma­tion from the KPA po­ten­tially un­der­mines the ef­fort of those of­fi­cials.”

The state­ments from the KPA Gen­eral Man­ager come at a time when se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials are work­ing on the re­lease of the funds. The Kuwait Prime Min­is­ter sent a let­ter dated Septem­ber 18, 2018 to the Prime Min­is­ter and Ruler of Dubai stat­ing that these funds “are con­sid­ered pub­lic funds and as well be­long to in­vestors in the pri­vate sec­tor, and since the con­tin­ued freez­ing of these funds is very dam­ag­ing to gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties and other in­vestors, we ask your High­ness to di­rect your en­ti­ties in charge to re­lease the funds quickly” (em­pha­sis added).

The Kuwait At­tor­ney Gen­eral has twice writ­ten to the Dubai At­tor­ney Gen­eral re­quest­ing the re­lease of the funds. Most re­cently, the Kuwait At­tor­ney Gen­eral wrote a let­ter dated De­cem­ber 30, 2018 re­quest­ing the Dubai At­tor­ney Gen­eral “to re­move the hold [on the funds] ... and en­able the ac­count holder com­pany [Port Link GP] to trans­fer and dis­trib­ute the men­tioned amount [$496 mil­lion].”

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