In an interview with the Financial Times on Wednesday, November 28, Anwar Ibrahim, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president, said that Goldman Sachs, the American investment bank involved in the 1MDB scandal must return “significantly more” than the S$826.59 million that the bank collected in order to raise bonds for 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad).
Anwar told the paper that Goldman Sachs’ collusion with disgraced Malaysian financier, Low Taek Jho has damaged Malaysia’s reputation. Low, who is now at large, along with Goldman Sachs reportedly defrauded Malaysia through 1MDB, a state investment company.
The PKR president insisted that what happened with 1MDB has caused investors to lose faith in the country, as well as left Malaysia with not enough finances for the current Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to do its job well.
He holds the American investment bank responsible for encouraging the financial crimes Low committed by giving him and others legitimacy for defrauding the country, with dire financial consequences that Malaysia is experiencing now.
He told the paper,
“For them to use a country like Malaysia — which is struggling to reform itself economically, moving up the ladder — really, to me, it’s disgusting.”
Anwar was asked if it would be enough for Goldman Sachs to merely return the S$826 million the bank made from 1MDB, and he said that it should pay “significantly more” than this amount.
Prosecutors in the United States have shown that Goldman Sachs earned US$600 million (S$826 million ) in fees due to its work with the Malaysian fund, an amount they deemed “above average,” and included, from 2012 to 2013, three bond offerings amounting to US$6.5 billion (S$8.9 billion). The bank was later implicated in payoffs to corrupt officials in both Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
Nevertheless, Goldman Sachs has not suffered the consequences of its 1MDB involvement, letting the blame fall instead on “rogue” staff like Tim Leissner, the bank’s former head in South East Asia, who has entered a guilty plea on criminal charges in the scandal. Roger Ng, another ex-banker from Goldman Sachs, is facing extradition to the US.
But Goldman Sachs’ involvement with the scandal may reach its very echelons, with investigations showing that Lloyd Blankfein, the bank’s chairman, having directly had a part in it as well.
Tommy Thomas, the US Attorney General, is supposedly getting ready to file a lawsuit against the bank for US$4.5 billion in damages (S$ 6.17 billion) because of Goldman Sachs role in the financial fraud at 1MDB.
Anwar told the Financial Times that Malaysia could seek compensation from Goldman Sachs via “aggressive negotiations.” Should this fail, he said, the next recourse would be litigation.