Report: Dr M Turns Down “Less Than US$2B” Offer from Goldman Sachs

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Malaysia has rejected a “less than US$2 billion (RM8.33 billion)” offer by global investment bankers Goldman Sachs in compensation over the 1MDB scandal, a report said today.

The report, by London’s Financial Times (FT), said Prime Minister Dr Mahathr Mohamad is sticking to his demand for US$7.5 billion (RM31.24 billion).

Mahathir told the paper in an interview yesterday that Goldman has offered “something like less than US$2 billion”.

“We are not satisfied with that amount, so we are still talking to them. If they respond reasonably, we might not insist on getting that US$7.5 billion,” the report from Bangkok, Thailand, quoted him as saying.

Goldman helped 1MDB to raise US$6.5 billion in bonds. The report noted that Malaysia has accused two former Goldman bankers of bribing officials to secure the bank’s involvement in the bond issues, from which it allegedly earned US$600 million in fees.

Malaysia has demanded the US$7.5 billion in compensation from Goldman for ensuing losses. Goldman had declined to comment.

FT also quoted Mahathir as saying the government had contacted Deutsche Bank and UBS over their dealings with 1MDB.

Mahathir also said on Thursday that Malaysia will seek to recoup US$1 billion from a settlement that fugitive financier Low Taek Jho had struck with the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

On Wednesday, it was reported that Low, better known as Jho Low, had struck a deal with the DoJ to return US$1 billion in assets linked to 1MDB.

US prosecutors had said Low orchestrated the theft of more than US$4 billion from 1MDB that ended up paying for a private jet, a superyacht, mansions, diamonds and even Hollywood movie productions.

The agreement does not include an admission of guilt or wrongdoing and it was unclear whether it affects the criminal charges against Low in the US.

“The assets were bought with Malaysian money. We have proof that this is Malaysia’s money. We will now make a claim to the American government,” Mahathir had said in Johor Bahru.

Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said yesterday police knew where Low was, reiterating a statement he made in September, and dismissed reports that the financier was in the United Arab Emirates.

Low had been reported as being in the UAE and had been shuttling between the Middle East countries and Europe since June. – FMT