Secret KIO report reveals dollars 500m of losses

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LONDON (Reuter) - A secret report by a powerful Kuwaiti watchdog body into the state-owned Kuwait Investment Office has revealed losses of about dollars 500m stemming from holdings in the US and UK

The Audit Board report, which was obtained by Reuters, said the KIO's UK investment arm, St Martins Holding Co Ltd, showed accumulated losses of pounds 201m for the year ending 30 June 1992. The KIO's US property company, Foster Lane, showed losses of dollars 219m at the end of 1992, the report said.

The report, which is extremely critical of the KIO's previous managers, shows the office invested a total pounds 264m in St Martins, which owns some 60 other companies in the property, health, manufacturing, foodstuffs and service sectors.

The KIO was forced to make provisions of pounds 192m towards St Martins' losses. The report alleges St Martins' losses stem from its subsidiaries.

KIO losses have sparked a public outcry in Kuwait, following the collapse of its dollars 5bn Spanish investments.

The KIO was not immediately available for comment yesterday, and St Martins Property declined comment.