KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia intends to recover all funds illicitly taken from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), and determine whether there are grounds for claims against companies, including Goldman Sachs , that profited from dealing with the beleaguered state fund.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that a plan was “on the table” to ask all individuals and political parties to return money that came from 1MDB, which was allegedly used as a slush fund by former prime minister Najib Razak.
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Having defeated his former protege in an election last month, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s administration has launched an investigation into how the fund founded by Najib lost billions of dollars.
Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and repeated earlier this week that he did not benefit or steal money from 1MDB.
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Lim said the government would also scrutinize the $600 million paid in fees to Goldman Sachs for raising nearly $6.5 billion in three bond sales between 2012 and 2013 for 1MDB. Critics said the fees earned from those bond issues were far in excess of the normal 1-2 percent fees a bank could expect.
“We will be looking at the possibility of seeking claims from Goldman Sachs, where there are grounds to do so… definitely,” Lim told Reuters in an interview.
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Reuters had reported last week that according to sources familiar with the issue Malaysia is considering asking the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) to get Goldman Sachs to return fees earned from the bond issues.
Civil lawsuits filed in 2016 by the DOJ alleged that over $2.5 billion raised from those bonds were misappropriated by high-level 1MDB officials, their relatives and associates.
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He also said Malaysia will look at the conduct of other banks involved in 1MDB transactions.
“We’ve got to see the nexus, whether they were at fault.”
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