BEIJING (Sept 25): Goldman Sachs Group Inc is seeking to resolve its entanglement with the 1MDB affair and help return money to Malaysia, a senior bank executive said.
“We’re looking to put it behind us and get the Malaysian people the money that they deserve,” Goldman Sachs President and Chief Operating Officer John Waldron said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Wednesday, in response to a question about 1MDB.
“We’re focused on getting it behind us and resolving it in an appropriate manner,” Waldron said. “We want the Malaysian people to be taken care of.”
Last month, Malaysia expanded efforts to prosecute Goldman Sachs employees it alleges were involved in the 1MDB fraud, filing criminal charges against more than a dozen current and former senior executives based around the world. Law-enforcement agencies in the US and Singapore are also investigating the money trail for billions of dollars that were allegedly siphoned off.
Waldron said it’s hard to give a time frame for when the 1MDB matter will be resolved. He declined to comment on the prospects for any settlement with the US Department of Justice.
Goldman Sachs isn’t facing any restrictions on its business in in the US as a result of 1MDB, Waldron said.
The 17 current and former employees charged by Malaysia were directors of three Goldman Sachs units it has accused of misleading investors when arranging US$6.5 billion in bond sales for the state investment fund, whose full name is 1Malaysia Development Bhd, in 2012 and 2013.
US prosecutors have charged two former bankers at Goldman Sachs, which received US$600 million in fees for the bond sales.
Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has prioritized recouping funds believed to be lost through the troubled state fund, including seeking about US$6.5 billion compensation from Goldman Sachs for its involvement in 1MDB. The premier said the bank had offered RM1 billion (US$239 million), which he said was “little” compared with the “huge killing” that the bank made from the bond deals.
The next hearing in Malaysia’s case against Goldman Sachs is due to take place in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
Waldron also addressed the rising risks to investors from political problems worldwide, including the US-China trade dispute, conflicts with Iran and an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
“The risk premium on politics and geopolitics is elevating,” he said. “For a long time, post financial crisis, we actually had a pretty modest amount of risk premium in the marketplace around the broad category of geopolitics, and that’s starting to change.”