International

Malaysian PM: Goldman Bankers ‘Cheated’ The Country

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has alleged that Goldman Sachs “cheated” the country regarding a state fund for 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), and that U.S. authorities will help return the fees the bank earned from the fund.

According to Reuters, Goldman helped raise funds through bond offerings for 1MDB, which is under investigation for corruption and money laundering in at least six countries. In addition, Goldman has been accused of collecting fees that were in excess of the normal 1 percent to 2 percent a bank could expect for selling the bonds. In fact, Malaysia claimed that it paid about 100 basis points higher than the market rate.

As a result, Malaysian Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng said the country would seek a “full refund” of the approximate $600 million the bank earned from raising the $6.5 billion for 1MDB.

Though a Goldman Sachs spokesman said the bank is denying any wrongdoing, its stock still fell to a near two-year low on Monday (Nov. 12). In the meantime, U.S. prosecutors have filed criminal charges against two former Goldman Sachs bankers, and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged that about $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB.

“There is evidence that Goldman Sachs has done things that are wrong,” Mahathir said. “Obviously, we have been cheated through the compliance by Goldman Sachs people.”

When asked if he had requested for the DOJ to help return the money Goldman earned from the fund, Mahathir said: “It takes a little bit of time, but [the DOJ has] promised that [it] will give back the money.”

Lim added that the country would seek consequential losses, as well as the return of fees. “The Malaysian government will want to reclaim all the fees paid, as well as all the losses, including the interest rate differential,” he said.

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