Kuwaiti court sentences five in 1MDB case
A Kuwaiti criminal court has sentenced five people to up to 10 years in prison for their involvement in corruption across the Malaysian state-owned fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper reported.
The 1MDB scandal surrounded what Malaysian and US authorities said was the misappropriation of about $4.5bn from 1MDB, which was created by former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak in 2009.
A Kuwaiti court on Tuesday sentenced a member of the royal family, his business partner and two foreigners, including Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, to 10 years in prison. A Kuwaiti lawyer was sentenced to seven years in prison in the same case.
The defendants were convicted of laundering $1bn sent by a Malaysian offender to Swiss bank accounts through a Kuwaiti bank account.
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The court ordered the five convicted men to return the $1bn and pay 145m Kuwaiti dinars ($475m) as a penalty.
Egypt to grant visas to Iranians on arrival
Tourists from Iran will be allowed to obtain Egyptian visas upon arrival, the country’s tourism minister said Monday, according to the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper.
The decision is part of a push to boost tourism, said Ahmed Issa, the minister of tourism and antiquities.
The visas would be issued under certain conditions and only for tourists entering southern Sinai.
Issa said the step was one of many in the pipeline aimed at facilitating the arrival of tourists to Egypt.
The move comes weeks after Saudi Arabia’s Cairo-based coalition restored diplomatic relations with Iran, following years of estrangement.
Relations between Egypt and Iran have generally been strained in recent years, although the two countries have maintained diplomatic contacts.
Syria: five years to recover from the earthquake
Syria will need five years to recover from two massive earthquakes in February that caused widespread destruction in the north and west of the country, and in neighboring Turkey, according to the MENA regional director of the International Federation of Red Cross Societies and the Red Crescent.
Hossam el-Sharkawi told Arabi21 that, in addition to the material devastation, the psychological consequences of the tremors will be “hard” and long lasting for people in the areas affected by the disaster.
“The situation in Syria is heartbreaking. Food security for over 70 percent of households was already at risk due to the protracted conflict – imagine the scale of the disaster today,” Sharkawi said.
“Children, women and the elderly need all possible care and support.”
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The World Bank has estimated that the February 6 earthquakes caused $3.7bn in physical damage in Syria, and another $1.5bn in economic loss – a combined damage impact of $5.2bn.
The report estimated the cost of recovery and reconstruction across the six regions assessed at $7.9bn.
More than 52,000 people died in the earthquakes, including more than 6,000 in Syria.
“There is great concern about the health sector collapsing in northern Syria, which is why we rushed from the first day of the disaster to provide medicines and vaccines, support the operation of medical facilities, and investment done in water and sanitation services to prevent spread. diseases and epidemics, especially cholera,” Sharkawi said.
Meanwhile the United Nations has assessed the damage to Turkey alone at over $100bn.
Sharkawi said Turkey, where more than 12 provinces were affected, would need two years to recover.
“The needs are urgent… and the recovery of communities requires long-term work and not emergency and immediate intervention.”
*Arab press review is a summary of news reports that have not been independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.