MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Be reasonable, pay up 1MDB dues - PM tells Goldman Sachs

The 1MDB crisis would not have happened if not for the "complicity" of international financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has said.

Therefore, it is only fair for the Wall Street bank to fulfill its obligation by paying up its settlement amount to the Malaysian government instead of trying to ignore its "moral and financial responsibilities."

"If we are entering into negotiations, I would suggest, be reasonable with us, pay what's due, and negotiate the terms.

"I don't think they should be too pre-emptive in trying to suggest that we will not honor because of the deals we made in the past," the premier told an interview with Bloomberg Television in Singapore yesterday.

He was responding to claims by Goldman that Malaysia had "undervalued" the assets already retrieved, as part of its recovery from the scandal.

According to Anwar, the 1MDB scandal is a "crime" committed not only against him, or the Malaysian government, but against all "Malaysians."

He urged Goldman to "come clean" and settle the deal with Malaysia as 1MDB was a scandal known throughout the world, and not just dismiss it by flexing the firm's financial muscle.

Goldman raised US$6.5 billion (RM27.6 billion) in 2012 and 2013 for 1MDB. However, a huge chunk of the funds, earmarked for development, ended up greasing the palms of government officials. Millions of the fund also flowed out of 1MDB to purchase expensive art and real yacht, and the Hollywood movie titled “The Wolf of Wall Street,” among others.

In October 2020, Goldman agreed to pay US$2.9 billion (RM12.3 billion) and its Malaysian unit pleaded guilty to a corruption charge, to settle probes into the looting of billions of dollars from 1MDB and payment of bribes to win business for the bank.

To a claim by Goldman that Malaysia was intentionally undervaluing the assets to force Goldman to pay a US$250 million interim payment, Anwar said that under a "fair deal", Malaysia was supposed to have been paid much more than that.

"I intend to deal with them if this thing is not settled amicably. It is not my intention... I'm new to the game, I just want to settle old scores (commitments), and we have to move on.

"If they come to pressure us, I will have no choice because I have the mandate from my people, and people are struggling to live and you with your hundreds of billions of profit and squandering, you can’t just get away by ignoring your moral and financial responsibilities."

According to Anwar further, the recovery of assets linked to 1MDB is "still in process" and the government is reopening files linked to the scandal to try and unearth the full depth of the case.

"How much we can get, I frankly can't say for now, but it's much more than we should be able to do (sic)," he said, urging governments around the world to act more "responsibly" to assist the asset recovery. - Mkini

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