Malaysia to proceed with charges against Goldman Sachs, says Lim

The legal action against the US investment bank will begin in the middle of next year


THE government will proceed with the lawsuit against Goldman Sachs Group Inc over the investment bank’s involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) affair to retrieve the looted funds.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (picture) said the legal action against the US investment bank will begin in the middle of next year.

“For Malaysia, we will still pursue the criminal charges against Goldman Sachs. I have been informed by the Attorney General’s Chambers that the case will begin hearing in the middle of next year.

“The case is still in progress and we have not received any new update,” he told reporters at a press conference in Putrajaya yesterday.

Lim was responding to a news report on a potential out-of-court settlement between the investment bank and the US Department of Justice (DoJ) worth below US$2 billion.

“The government does not know about the discussion and we still do not have any information on the settlement worth US$1.5 billion to US$2 billion.

“We are still seeking US$7.5 billion (RM31.19 billion) from Goldman Sachs for the losses from its involvement in 1MDB,” he said.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Goldman Sachs could end up paying a settlement to the US government in a bid to resolve the criminal and regulatory investigation over its roles in 1MDB.

Previously, the DoJ and other federal agencies were mulling on a penalty between US$1.5 billion and US$2 billion, and it is expected to be made public in January next year, the newswire said.

Goldman Sachs has also previously offered several compensations to Malaysia, which were rejected as Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the value was “too small”.

Currently, Malaysia has charged Goldman Sachs and 17 of its unit’s current and former directors for allegedly misleading investors over bond sales totalling US$6.5 billion that the bank helped raise for 1MDB.

Separately, Lim said Malaysia’s economic performance for the year will determine the government’s revision of next year’s GDP.

“Malaysia’s economic performance for 2019 will determine if we could maintain the 4.8% target for 2020.

“If it is not achieved, then we will have to look at it again,” he said when asked regarding the recent downgrade by the World Bank. For the moment, Lim said the government will adhere to its current estimation as the country is on track to report the anticipated performance.

“For next year, we will stick to our projection of 4.8%. We think that Malaysia is on track to achieve 4.7% projection for this year,” he said.

On Monday, the World Bank has revised down the country’s GDP growth estimate to 4.5% from 4.6% on the weaker than anticipated investment and export growth in the third quarter this year.