The multi-billion-ringgit settlement reached between Goldman Sachs and the previous Perikatan Nasional-led administration is being reviewed, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.
Anwar had directed a task force led by former second finance minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani to look through the deal following complaints that the sum Goldman Sachs had agreed to pay was still small in proportion to its role in the scandal.
Johari, who was finance minister at the time news about the scandal had made headlines, was among government MPs who called for the US$2.5 billion (RM11 billion) settlement to be reevaluated.
“I agree with his view because from the very start I had always said the deal was made in haste,” Anwar told reporters at a government function in Kuala Lumpur.
“So, it raised a lot of questions,” he added.
The Anwar administration has pledged to continue with efforts to recoup funds embezzled from 1MDB.
Goldman Sachs had paid RM11 billion and guaranteeing the return of US$1.4 billion (RM6.1 billion) in seized 1MDB assets to the Malaysian government in 2020 as part of a settlement reached after several years of negotiations initiated by the first Pakatan Harapan government, and later continued by the succeeding government under then prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The US investment bank was implicated in the scandal since it acted as the financial adviser and lead manager for three bonds issued by 1MDB worth US$6.5 billion, earning US$606 million in fees in the process.
What the Anwar government plans to do after the task force completes its review remains unclear.
But the prime minister suggested today that his government could be eyeing a bigger settlement fee than the US$1.8 billion from Goldman Sachs, citing the settlement with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Company and Aabar Investments PJS.
Anwar was previously reported saying the US$1.8 billion settlement between the Malaysian government and the two Abu Dhabi companies to settle legal proceedings filed in relation to the 1MDB scandal had exceeded his expectations.
Back then, he had praised the legal team involved in the negotiations, calling it a success and a testament to what the Malaysian civil service is capable of. – MMO