KUALA LUMPUR: Senior executives of Goldman Sachs have flown in to Malaysia for talks with the government on the recovery of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) assets, Malaysia’s finance minister said on Monday (Jul 20).
Finance Minister Zafrul Abdul Aziz said in a statement that executives from the US investment bank had flown in “this week”, to continue discussions and negotiations with the government.
“Additionally, the government has also been conducting ongoing discussions and negotiations with multiple international organisations, including Goldman Sachs, led by Malaysia’s Attorney General’s Chamber,” Mr Zafrul said in a statement today.
“We hope these discussions will prove to be fruitful and will enable us to move closer towards achieving the desired results on the recovery of 1MDB assets,” he said.
Malaysian prosecutors have charged Goldman Sachs and 17 current and former directors of its units for allegedly misleading investors over bond sales totalling US$6.5 billion that the US bank helped raise for sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
US and Malaysian authorities say about US$4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB in an elaborate scheme that spanned the globe and implicated former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak and US bank Goldman Sachs, among others.
Najib has denied wrongdoing. In February, three units of Goldman Sachs pleaded not guilty in a Malaysian court to charges of misleading investors regarding US$6.5 billion in bond sales the US investment bank helped raise for 1MDB.
Last Thursday, a Malaysian court granted an interim order to stop Saudi energy firm PetroSaudi International (PSI) from using more than US$340 million in funds in Britain, which Malaysian prosecutors believed was siphoned from state fund 1MDB.
High court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali imposed a temporary freeze on the funds in Britain held by PetroSaudi, which has links to the Saudi royal family, pending the outcome of an Aug 28 hearing on an application by Malaysian prosecutors seeking an order to prohibit the company and four others from accessing it.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which filed the application under anti-money laundering legislation, said it would extend the interim order to British authorities via mutual legal assistance to ensure the assets remain frozen until the court comes to a decision on the case.
The Free Malaysia Today news site quoted a lawyer for the MACC, Muhammad Nizamuddin Abdul Hamid, as saying Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) had advised Malaysian authorities to seek a Malaysian court order so the NCA could enforce it there.
Co-founded by Najib in 2009, 1MDB entered what would ultimately become a failed joint-venture with PetroSaudi to develop oil fields that year, with US$1 billion paid up front by the Malaysian fund.