Mahathir Mohamad says amount is insufficient but a better offer might lead Malaysia to drop its demand for US$7.5bn

Malaysia has rejected an offer from Goldman Sachs of less than US$2bn in compensation over the 1MDB scandal, in contrast to the countrys publicly stated demand of US$7.5bn.

Malaysia has charged Goldman and 17 current and former directors of its units for allegedly misleading investors over bond sales totalling US$6.5bn that the US bank helped raise for the sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Goldman Sachs has offered something like less than $2bn, the Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, told the Financial Times on Friday. We are not satisfied with that amount so we are still talking to them If they respond reasonably we might not insist on getting that $7.5bn.

Goldman declined to comment to the newspaper. The bank did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Goldman said last month it was in discussions with authorities on the possibility of a resolution of investigations relating to 1MDB.

A spokesman for Mahathir travelling with the leader could not immediately be reached.

US authorities say about US$4.5bn was siphoned from 1MDB, founded in 2009 by the then Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak. The scandal helped Mahathir hand a surprise defeat to Najib in a general election last year.

Mahathir told the Financial Times the south-east Asian country was not negotiating or in contact with the fugitive financier Jho Low, accused of playing a central role in the scam.

Low has consistently denied wrongdoing and says he does not expect a fair trial in Malaysia as long as Mahathir is in power.

The US Justice Department said this week it had struck a deal to recover US$1bn in funds allegedly looted from 1MDB from Low, in a record haul for an US anti-corruption probe.

The deal does not include an admission of guilt or wrongdoing and is not tied to criminal action against Low.

Mahathir said on Thursday that Malaysia would file a claim on Lows forfeited assets.
The DoJ has indicated that if we can prove claim of ownership, then we will be able to get the money for ourselves, he said.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

 

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