By P PREM KUMAR & ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By BLOOMBERG
The Malaysian government will “definitely” pursue legal action against US-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc for its involvement in the multi billion-ringgit scandal plaguing 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said there is no dispute within the Pakatan Harapan administration about taking legal action against the investment bank.
Attorney General (AG) Tommy Thomas has been tasked to handle the case initiation proceedings.
“We are definitely going to take action. There is no dispute about it. But the legal steps, the legal procedure, we will leave it to the AG.
“I’m only saying here that the government will definitely be pursuing legally with Goldman Sachs,” Lim told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.
The Attorney General’s Chambers is currently working to file documents against Goldman Sachs in the US for US$4.5 billion (RM18.8 billion) in damages over the investment bank’s alleged collusion with fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, in facilitating the financial fraud of 1MDB.
US prosecutors have been quoted as saying that Goldman Sachs gained above ave- rage fees topping US$600 million for its work on 1MDB, which included three bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 that raised US$6.5 billion.
This has since been shown to involve corrupt payments to government officials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
Goldman Sachs has so far escaped direct consequences of its alleged role in the scandal, opting to blame “rogue” employees such as former South-East Asia head Tim Leissner.
Leissner pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the US related to 1MDB scandal, while another former Goldman banker, Roger Ng, is awaiting extradition to face trial as he is arrested in Malaysia.
Last month, Jho Low and Ng were charged in a US federal court for money laundering conspiracy and bribery in connection with 1MDB.
Ng was also charged with conspiring to violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1977 by evading internal controls of a New York-based bank, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a statement.
The indictments mark the first criminal set of charges filed by the US in relation to 1MDB. US prosecutors have previously filed civil asset forfeiture suits to recover about US$540 million allegedly linked to graft involving 1MDB funds.
The DoJ had previously alleged that as much as US$4.5 billion belonging to 1MDB was misappropriated by officials and associates of the fund. The case is now being investigated in at least six countries.
Low has continued to evade arrest. His location is presently unknown.