Finance minister says govt to pursue criminal case against Goldman Sachs, court hearing likely mid-2020

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng arrives for the LIFT (Literacy in Financial Technology) festival in Putrajaya December 12, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 12 — The Malaysian government will go ahead with its lawsuit against US investment bank Goldman Sachs to recoup losses from scandal-riddled 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Lim Guan Eng said today.

The finance minister added that Putrajaya wants to recover losses estimated at US$7.5 billion (RM31.2 billion) and has no intention to wait for a settlement out of court with Goldman Sachs.

“I have contacted the Attorney General’s Chambers and they have said that this case is expected to be heard mid next year,” he told reporters here.

“This is in response to the losses that we experienced from the 1MDB scandal from Goldman Sachs only,” he added.

Lim was asked for comments to news reports that the government is trying to negotiate a settlement with the US’ fifth largest investment bank before taking it to court.

He said the case is ongoing and added that he has not received any information regarding the settlement.

Lim also said Goldman Sachs was not the only entity from which Malaysia was seeking to recover money, saying it was also going after fugitive financier Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.

Financial daily Bloomberg last week reported that Goldman Sachs could end up paying less than US$2 billion (RM8.3 billion) to settle a separate case with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) over its role in 1MDB.

In 2012 and 2013, the bank raised US$6.5 billion for 1MDB, much of which the US has alleged was ultimately stolen in a scheme masterminded by Malaysian fugitive Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, a central figure in the scandal who has denied wrongdoing.

Aside from the lawsuit filed in the US, Malaysia also charged Goldman Sachs here under the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 over its role in the bond issue.

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