KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian government is re-evaluating a $3.9 billion (S$5.2 billion) settlement deal reached between the previous administration and US investment bank Goldman Sachs over the 1MDB financial scandal, state news agency Bernama reported on Monday (April 17).
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Monday a government taskforce looking into 1MDB issues was scrutinising the 2020 deal with Goldman, adding that it was a matter of recovering public funds, Bernama reported.
“I agree (with a review) because from the start, I felt the settlement agreement was done hastily which led to many questions being raised,” Anwar was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Goldman Sachs agreed in 2020 to pay $2.5 billion in cash and guarantee the return of $1.4 billion in assets to Malaysia to settle a criminal probe into the bank’s alleged involvement in the multi-billion-dollar scandal, in a deal reached during the administration of Muhyiddin Yassin.
Goldman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Malaysian and US authorities estimate some $4.5 billion were stolen from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014, in a globe-spanning scheme that implicated high-level government and banking officials in Malaysia and elsewhere.
Goldman had helped 1MDB raise $6.5 billion in two bond offerings, earning itself $600 million in fees, according to the US Justice Department.
Since taking office last November, Anwar has sought to review previous governments’ decisions on 1MDB in a bid to recoup money embezzled from the fund.
In February, Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co and its unit Aabar Investments PJS agreed to pay Malaysia $1.8 billion to settle a separate legal dispute over 1MDB.
1MDB is the subject of corruption and money-laundering investigations in at least six countries.
Last month, former Goldman banker Roger Ng was sentenced by a US court to 10 years in prison, after being convicted of helping to loot billions of dollars from 1MDB.