KUALA LUMPUR (More Bank) – Malaysia's Finance Minister said on Friday that the government would be ready to discuss Goldman Sachs criminal charges related to the 1MDB scandal if the bank pays $ 7.5 billion in reparations.
The Malaysian authorities and the US Department of Justice are investigating Goldman Sachs as an underwriter and arranger of three bond sales that raised $ 6.5 billion for 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The bank denied having committed a wrongdoing.
Last year, US prosecutors indicted two former Goldman bankers for stealing billions of dollars from 1MDB.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said Malaysia was seeking compensation from Goldman Sachs amounting to US $ 7.5 million for its 1MDB operations, including royalties paid in the bank and coupons "above the market rate".
On Friday, the reporter asked if Malaysia would drop the lawsuit if it paid for the repairs, but Mr. Lim said, "Pay $ 7.5 billion, we can discuss it."
Malaysia reopened national surveys of 1MDB last year after historic elections that marked the country's first change of government for more than 60 years.
The government of the former Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, created the 1MDB fund in 2009, and the US Department of Justice estimates that $ 4.5 billion was diverted by high-level fund managers and their collaborators between 2009 and 2014.
Najib denied having acted wrongly.
On Wednesday, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon apologized to the Malaysian people for Tim Leissner's role in the 1MDB scandal, but said the bank had done due diligence before every transaction.
Leissner, a former Goldman Sachs partner in Asia, pleaded guilty to the United States for conspiring to launder money and violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Lim said the excuses were "necessary but not sufficient" and that the whole scandal caused "agony and trauma to the Malaysian people".
"If it was not the change of government, do you think Goldman Sachs would have apologized? We are talking about the largest investment bank in the world … it's not easy to apologize," said Mr. Lim.
"Excuses are not enough – $ 7.5 billion apology is what matters."
(Report by Joseph Sipalan)