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Misstatements by Kuwait Port Authority General Manager Endanger Efforts to Recover Kuwait Public Funds

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Port Fund today called on the General Manager of the Kuwait Port Authority (KPA), Sheik Yousef Al-Abdullah, to correct misstatements he made in a CNBC Arabia interview aired on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 regarding The Port Fund and its efforts to distribute $496 million to its investors and stakeholders.

The General Manager made inaccurate statements that 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.

Equally surprising, 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 KPA General Manager also stated 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.

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 “remove the hold [on the funds] … and enable the account holder company [Port Link GP] to transfer and distribute the mentioned amount [$496 million]” (emphasis added).

“The Port Fund calls on the 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,” said Mark Williams, investment director of the fund.  “Kuwait government officials have been working to have Dubai release these funds and incorrect information from the KPA potentially undermines the effort of those officials.”

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