Malaysia discussing $4 billion settlement with Goldman: Report
KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia has discussed a US$2 billion to US$3 billion (S$2.7 billion to S$4 billion) settlement with Goldman Sachs over the US bank's alleged role in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, Bloomberg reported yesterday.
It is less than half the sum Malaysia had demanded earlier.
Investigators in Malaysia and the US say about US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from the now-defunct 1MDB, set up in 2009 by former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has been slapped with several charges.
Last year, Malaysia filed criminal charges against Goldman over its role as underwriter and arranger of three bond sales that raised US$6.5 billion for 1MDB.
Prosecutors in August filed criminal charges against 17 current and former directors at Goldman's units.
Malaysia's finance minister said in January the government would be ready to discuss dropping the charges against Goldman if it agreed to pay US$7.5 billion in reparations.
Goldman has not commented on any figure but said last year it had set aside US$1.8 billion to cover potential losses related to 1MDB legal proceedings.
Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was keen to reach a deal with Goldman this year itself.
Goldman declined to comment on the report. A spokesman for Dr Mahathir had no immediate comment.
The country's attorney-general said recently that they had a strong case against Goldman and were very confident of winning, but that criminal charges and settlement negotiations were taking place in parallel.
The bank said last week it was in discussions with governmental and regulatory authorities on the possibility of a resolution of investigations relating to 1MDB.
Separately, Lebanese jeweller Global Royalty SAL withdrew a civil suit against Najib's wife, Rosmah Mansor, their lawyers said.
The firm had sought more than US$14 million in jewellery that it said were in her possession. - REUTERS