Singapore says no Malaysian request for return of 1MDB-linked jet

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore police said on Tuesday an aircraft linked to an investigation into a multi-billion scandal at Malaysian state fund 1MDB was in the city-state but Malaysia had not made a formal request for its return.

FILE PHOTO: A construction worker talks on the phone in front of a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Olivia Harris//File Photo

Singapore authorities had not previously confirmed that the $35-million private jet, which Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said he is seeking to repossess, was in the city.

Aviation services firm Jet Aviation said on Monday a jet, which the U.S. Department of Justice alleges was bought by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho using funds taken from 1MDB, was at their facility at Singapore’s Seletar Airport.

“Singapore has not received any formal request from the Malaysian authorities seeking the return of the aircraft,” a police spokesman said.

“Any such request, along with other requests for the return of seized 1MDB-related assets, will be dealt with in accordance with Singapore’s legal framework.”

Singapore authorities in 2016 said they had seized S$240 million ($175 million) in funds and properties as part of investigations into 1MDB-related fund flows through Singapore, of which about half belonged to Low and his family.

Malaysian authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Low, whose whereabouts are not known. Low, whose Malaysian passport has been revoked, has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Last week, the $250 million superyacht Equanimity, which the U.S. Department of Justice says was also bought by Low, was handed over to Malaysia by Indonesia, which had seized the vessel this year.

A representative for Low has said the handing over of the yacht to Malaysia was illegal and in violation of Indonesian and U.S. court orders.

($1 = 1.3738 Singapore dollars)

Reporting by John Geddie; Editing by Robert Birsel