Titiwangsa Member of Parliament (MP) Datuk Seri Johari Ghani has questioned the 1MDB settlement agreement struck by the previous government administration under former Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin following the conviction of two former Goldman Sachs employees.
Johari was speaking ahead of the sentencing of former banker Roger Ng by United States (US) district judge Margo Brodie on March 9 (Thurs).
Ng was convicted of colluding with his former superior, Tim Leissner, along with fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, to bribe government officials in Abu Dhabi and Malaysia to expedite fraudulent 1MDB bond deals worth RM29 billion.
Four years ago, Leissner himself pleaded guilty to similar charges though he has been cooperating with prosecutors in order for a more lenient sentence.
“We agreed to get only about RM11.2 billion from the RM29 billion that was claimed. The bank had agreed to help retrieve an additional RM6.25 billion in assets,” Johari told online news portal FreeMalaysiaToday (FMT).
Johari, who is a former second finance minister, stressed that the lower settlement amount was an indication that there were discrepancies where the deal was concerned.
“We seem to be in somewhat of a stalemate with Goldman Sachs for the recovery of assets, as the bank has not delivered in securing the RM6.25 billion that was promised, agreed upon,” he said.
“Leissner and Ng, were the bank’s senior management who were very much part of the fraud. Their misconduct can be attributed to Goldman Sachs and therefore the bank has to be responsible, answerable for all of 1MDB’s losses.
“Where we are concerned there is nothing to hide. We are just trying to recover the losses from the bank whose senior employees have been convicted of wrongdoing in the United States,” he said.
Johari also urged the government to work together with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to immediately retrieve the funds that were forfeited from Leissner and Ng.
“We have a responsibility to make sure that such funds are returned to the Treasury as soon as possible to partly fund bonds worth RM13.4 billion that are due to be paid this month,” he said.
Just last week, Bloomberg reported that following Leissner’s conviction, Judge Brodie had instructed him to surrender about US$44 million (RM197 million) in assets back to the DoJ, made up of US$43.7 million (RM195 million) in cash and 3.3 million shares worth US$313 million (RM1.4 billion) in fitness drink company Celsius Holdings Inc.
The report also stated that prosecutors were now asking the judge to forfeit another US$35.1 million (RM157 million) from Ng. – NST