Quiz those involved in Goldman Sachs settlement, says ex-MP

(FMT) – A former MP has called for those involved in the government’s 1MDB settlement with US investment bank Goldman Sachs to explain why they agreed to such a “raw deal” with the bank.

“The government should summon those involved in the negotiations and get them to explain the reasons for their decisions,” said former Klang MP Charles Santiago. “The public has a right to know how the amount for the settlement was derived, who was involved in settlement negotiations and why they agreed to it,” he told FMT.

He was commenting on reports about plans by Goldman Sachs to pursue arbitration against the government over the 1MDB settlement struck three years ago.

The Bloomberg agency reported that Goldman Sachs took the “unusual step” of pursuing arbitration proceedings in a UK court “amid festering disagreement over a settlement tied to its role in the 1MDB scandal”.

The agreement, signed on Aug 18, 2020, requires Goldman Sachs to make payment in two parts – a cash payment of US$2.5 billion paid within 10 days of the signing of the agreement, and an asset recovery guarantee of US$1.4 billion within five years.

Santiago said Goldman Sachs was adopting a scare tactic in pursuing arbitration. “This is a clear attempt to smear Malaysia’s reputation in the global market,” he said.

He said Goldman Sachs should have filed a suit in Malaysia.

The arbitration case would lead to delays in their settlement and fighting the arbitration will cost Malaysian taxpayers.

On Thursday, 1MDB task force chairman Johari Ghani described Goldman Sachs’ move as “premature” and “without due consideration of the necessary prerequisites”.

He also said it was an attempt to detract and divert attention away from its obligation to make an interim payment to the government of US$250 million under the settlement agreement.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers has said it will prepare a response to Goldman Sachs’ pursuit of arbitration “within the confines of the law”.