MALAYSIA says bankers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc has “cheated” the country throughout its dealing on sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said authorities in the US would help the country retrieve the fees the Wall Street bank made from 1MDB.
Goldman has been under scrutiny for its role in raising funds for 1MDB through bond offerings and the state fund is being probed in at least six countries over corruption and money-laundering allegations.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) believes a total of US$4.5 billion was syphoned from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014 and now Malaysia is looking to get a “full refund” from the Wall Street bank.
“There is evidence that Goldman Sachs has done things that are wrong,” Dr Mahathir said during an interview with CNBC on Tuesday
“Obviously we have been cheated through the compliance by Goldman Sachs people,” he said, without elaborating.
On Monday, Goldman’s stock fell to a near two-year low after Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the country would seek around US$600 million in fees the bank made from raising US$6.5 billion for the fund, according to Reuters.
Earlier this month, US prosecutors filed criminals charges on two former Goldman bankers, including Tim Leissnerm who pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by conspiring to launder money.
Dr Mahathir said the bank’s compliance controls “don’t work very well”, he added.
On whether Malaysia had sent an official request to the DOJ to seek help on the refund, Dr Mahathir told reporters in Singapore that “it takes a little bit of time but they (DOJ) have promised that they will give back the money.”
A DOJ spokeswoman said the US would continue to pursue justice over the 1MDB investigations and would recover assets to be used to “benefit the people” who were affected by corruption and abuse of power.