Report: AG preparing civil suit against Goldman, seeking RM19b in damages

Attorney General Tommy Thomas speaks during the International Malaysia Law Conference in Kuala Lumpur August 14, 2018. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Attorney General Tommy Thomas speaks during the International Malaysia Law Conference in Kuala Lumpur August 14, 2018. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — A civil suit is being prepared by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas against banking firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc over the latter’s role in the misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), a report has claimed.

Asia Times quoted an anonymous source saying the suit will be filed in a United States court, seeking damages of US$4.5 billion (RM18.9 billion).

The source reportedly said that the case will argue that Goldman’s top management was aware of the fraud, including senior executives that will be charged in the criminal case by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

It will also argue that senior Goldman execcutives were aware that proceeds from three 1MDB bonds in 2012 were siphoned into a company, Aabar BVI, which resembles a different company named Aabar Investments, owned by the bonds’ guarantor, Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).

Malay Mail is currently attempting to verify the report with the Attorney-General’s Chambers and Putrajaya.

Earlier this week, it was reported that IPIC had sued Goldman for allegedly conspiring against the Middle Eastern fund to further a criminal scheme by 1MDB.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said earlier this month that bankers at Goldman “cheated” Malaysia in dealings with 1MDB, amid growing calls in the country for more aggressive steps to recoup fees earned by the bank.

The US investment bank has been under scrutiny for its role in helping raise funds through bond offerings for 1MDB, which is the subject of corruption and money-laundering investigations in at least six countries.

The US Department of Justice has said about US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, including some money that Goldman Sachs helped raise, by high-level officials of the fund and their associates from 2009 through 2014.

US prosecutors filed criminal charges against two former Goldman Sachs bankers earlier this month. One of them, Tim Leissner, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had told Goldman to return the US$588 million (RM2.4 billion) fees it was paid for its work with 1MDB.

He said the American investment bank was paid the fees for raising bonds totalling US$6.5 billion (RM23.29 billion) for the Malaysian state investment firm back in 2012 and 2013.

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