KUALA LUMPUR: Berjaya Corporation Bhd executive chairman Vincent Tan Chee Yioun, who surfaced as a substantial shareholder of T7 Global Bhd last month, plans to divest his entire stake in the offshore oilfield service provider.
The tycoon disclosed this today in a statement, which was issued to clarify his position and to refute any allegations, or suggestions of impropriety, or cronyism on the part of the government and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The clarification was in response to several news reports and social media articles regarding his recent purchase of 21 million shares, comprising a 5.04% stake, in T7 Global.
“These news reports are mischievous and appear to imply a sinister link between my acquisition of a substantial stake in T7 Global and the decision of the Pakatan Harapan government not to cancel the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, despite earlier reports to the contrary.
“I believe these news reports and social media comments are intended to embarrass me and the new government in Putrajaya,” Tan said.
According to T7 Global’s filings with Bursa Malaysia, he acquired 21 million shares or a 5.03% stake in the company via direct business transactions on May 15 and a further 1.2 million shares in the open market on May 21, lifting his stake to 22.2 million shares or 5.29%.
“I have, in fact, already started disposing of some of my shares in T7 Global as of yesterday and I intend to dispose of all of my shares in the company in due course.
“I hope this will put an end to any further controversy on this issue,” Tan said.
He said the acquisition was made as he was acquainted with the major shareholder of the company and, more importantly, as a long-term investment in the oil and gas services industry, given that T7 Global was well positioned in the sector.
“I had no knowledge that T7 Global is one of the contractors for the ECRL project when I purchased the shares in the company,” he added.
Tan pointed out that Mahathir had categorically denied claims that his government decided against scrapping the ECRL project because “his friend Tan Sri Vincent Tan” held a stake in it.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has also clarified that since RM20 billion had already been paid, it would be too costly to scrap the ECRL project. Instead, the contract will be renegotiated to bring down its costs.
“Despite such clarifications by the prime minister and finance minister, scurrilous and baseless allegations of impropriety still seem to be making their rounds in the news and social media,” Tan said.
Meanwhile, he also pointed out several “fake news”, including a report alleging he had invested in a financial startup that developed a trading platform called Bitcoin Formula, which promoted blockchain and crypto technologies.
Tan said there was also a Facebook article claiming that he would donate RM525 million to Tabung Harapan Malaysia, which was set up to enable Malaysians to contribute in reducing the national debt.
“There is absolutely no truth to either of these reports.
“I believe they have been put out by unscrupulous persons to deceive the public,” he added.