Anwar: Malaysia won't compromise in Goldman-1MDB talks

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 14 Feb 2019

Singapore had been examining Goldman Sachs Group's relationship with the Malaysian state investment company since at least late 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS.

NEW YORK (Bloomberg): Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Malaysia “will not compromise” in its talks with Goldman Sachs Group Inc over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, and the bank “must bear responsibility.”

The nation has a responsibility to uncover any crimes the investment bank may have committed, Anwar said Wednesday in an interview here with Bloomberg Television.

He said he’s not sure whether Malaysia can get the US$7.5bil (RM30.5bil) it’s seeking from Goldman as compensation for the scandal.

Malaysia filed criminal charges against the bank last December.

Units of the bank were accused of making false statements in documents submitted to a local regulator in arranging US$6.5bil (RM26.4bil) bond offers for 1MDB.

Goldman officials have said the bank raised money for 1MDB without knowing it would be diverted, and that it’s cooperating with authorities.

“It’s not feasible or tenable to assume that the higher, top personalities in Goldman Sachs” aren’t aware, Anwar said.

He said the country now has sufficient safeguards over the banking sector but cautioned against complacency.

“However rigid the safeguards, if you have crooks running the system they can always navigate,” he said.

“The 1MDB bond offerings were designed to raise money to benefit Malaysia, and 100% of the net proceeds from the transactions were deposited into 1MDB accounts,” Goldman Sachs spokesman Jake Siewert said in an emailed statement.

“Not a cent of those funds ever passed through any account controlled by Goldman Sachs, and none of the funds were moved or redirected under our authority.

“Instead, a huge portion of those funds was stolen for the benefit of members of the Malaysian government and its associates, and it is abundantly clear that members of that government and 1MDB lied to Goldman about the use of proceeds from these transactions,” the bank said.

Malaysia may consider a discussion to drop the charges should Goldman Sachs pay the sum, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told reporters in January.

The allegations against Goldman were filed by Attorney General Tommy Thomas as the nation’s top prosecutor, while the finance minister isn’t formally authorised to make decisions on criminal charges.

Goldman’s top executives have millions at risk from the 1MDB scandal. Equity awards to chief executive officer David Solomon and his predecessor Lloyd Blankfein are subject to clawbacks if the results of the 1MDB proceedings “would have impacted” the board’s pay decisions for senior executives.

Goldman also said it will defer payouts of long-term cash awards granted in January 2011 to three executives, who have since retired, until more information is available regarding 1MDB.

Former senior Goldman banker Tim Leissner has pleaded guilty to charges including conspiring to launder money, while another ex-employee Roger Ng remains in custody in Malaysia as he faces extradition to the United States to face related allegations. – Bloomberg

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