Law minister says can’t divulge Putrajaya’s 1MDB-Goldman Sachs settlement due to confidentiality clause

Minister in charge of parliament and law Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya May 8, 2020. — Bernama pic
Minister in charge of parliament and law Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya May 8, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said that the settlement agreement between the government, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and banking titan Goldman Sachs remains bound by a confidentiality clause.

In a written reply to PKR’s Subang MP Wong Chen, the de facto law minister said MPs cannot be given full access to it due to the clause, which can only be overridden by the agreement of all parties involved.

“This confidentiality clause is also applicable for provisions regarding the US$1.4 billion (RM5.75 billion) guarantee from Goldman Sachs on the stolen assets,” the PAS MP said, in a reply that has since been shared by Wong on social media.

“Therefore, based on the said confidentiality clause, the government is unable to allow access to details on the 1MDB-Goldman Sachs settlement agreement, as per your request, to avoid any legal action from being initiated, owing to breach of agreement terms.”

Wong had previously the prime minister in Parliament to state if MPs can be given full access to the settlement agreement and the breakdown of the US$1.4 billion worth of stolen assets guaranteed by Goldman Sachs

In July, it was reported that the US investment bank had reached a settlement with the Malaysian government over the multibillion-dollar 1MDB scandal.  

The two sides reportedly said 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 the bonds.  

Reuters previously reported that Malaysian prosecutors had 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.

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.

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