Lim Guan Eng: Goldman Sachs must return Malaysia RM2.4 billion fees paid for 1MDB-related work

Goldman Sachs must return the US$588 million (RM2.4 billion) fees which it was paid for work done with 1Malaysia Development Bhd, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Singapore Press Holdings

Goldman Sachs must return the US$588 million (RM2.4 billion) fees which it was paid for its work with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has reportedly said.

At a Budget 2019 briefing in Penang on Wednesday (Nov 7), Lim made clear that he believed the American investment bank should return the money as it had cost Malaysia big losses.

He was quoted by The Star as saying: “They must pay us back this money, not only the US$588 million but much more than that.

The fees were reportedly paid to Goldman Sachs back in 2012 and 2013 for raising bonds that amounted to US$6.5 billion for the Malaysian state investment firm.

Malay Mail quoted the Finance Minister as saying: “Even the Goldman Sachs chief executive officer has admitted that its employees had broken the law in this.

He also said there was a possibility that even the higher-ups might have been involved in the dealings with 1MDB, the news website reported.

According to Malay Mail, Lim said that Malaysia needed the money because of a RM1 trillion debt related to the 1MDB scandal.

On Nov 2, Reuters reported that Tim Leissner, a former partner for Goldman Sachs in Asia, had pleaded guilty to two crimes – conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He had also agreed to forfeit US$43.7 million.

Another Goldman banker, Roger Ng, was arrested in Malaysia and is expected to be extradited to the US.

Goldman Sachs chief executive David Solomon reportedly responded to the news, saying he felt “horrible” that the two former employees “blatantly broke the law”, Reuters reported on Nov 7.

“I feel horrible about the fact that people who worked at Goldman Sachs – and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a partner or it’s an entry level employee – would go around our policies and break the law,” he reportedly told Bloomberg TV.