Goldman Sachs, Malaysia agree to US$3.9b settlement over 1MDB

Settlement talks that restarted this week concluded today, sources revealed. — Reuters pic
Settlement talks that restarted this week concluded today, sources revealed. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 — US investment bank Goldman Sachs has reached a US$3.9 billion (RM16.6 billion) settlement with the Malaysian government over the multibillion-dollar 1MDB scandal, the two sides said on Friday.

The deal includes a US$2.5 billion cash payout by Goldman and a guarantee by the bank to return at least US$1.4 billion in assets linked to 1MDB bonds, Malaysia’s finance ministry said in a statement.

“We are confident that we are securing more money from Goldman Sachs compared to previous attempts, which were far below expectations,” Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said in a statement.

“We are also glad to be able to resolve this outside the court system, which would have cost a lot of time, money and resources,” he said, adding the deal would resolve all outstanding charges and claims against Goldman Sachs.

Malaysian prosecutors filed charges in December 2018 against three Goldman Sachs units for misleading investors over bond sales totalling US$6.5 billion that the bank helped raise for sovereign wealth fund 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd).

Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing, saying that certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to it about how proceeds from the bond sales would be used. The units of Goldman Sachs pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Goldman Sachs confirmed the US$3.9 billion settlement and said it had reached an agreement in principle with Malaysia to resolve all criminal and regulatory proceedings in the country involving the firm.

US and Malaysian authorities say about US$4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB, in an elaborate scheme that spanned the globe and implicated former Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Goldman Sachs, among others.

A Malaysian court will deliver its verdict in the case against Najib on Tuesday, the first of several corruption trials he faces linked to the 1MDB scandal.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him. — Reuters

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