Malaysia willing to settle with banks involved in 1MDB scandal: Anwar


Posted at Mar 03 2023 07:57 AM | Updated as of Mar 03 2023 10:01 AM

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MANILA — The Malaysian government is willing to settle with other banks involved in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal if the proposals are reasonable.

In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is also finance minister, said the government does not expect to recover all of the funds that were lost but that any deal should be fair. 

Two Abu Dhabi state funds earlier agreed to a $1.8 billion settlement with the Malaysian sovereign fund and the ministry of finance to end a legal dispute in London.

Anwar has also asked Goldman Sachs to pay up after the bank admitted its role in the scandal. He added that the 1MDB scandal could have been avoided if only certain institutions were not involved in the process of the crime.

"It could not have happened in that scale if international financial institutions like Goldman Sachs is not complicit to the crime. It's a tough stance. We cleared it with Goldman Sachs and it's not right for you to say 'Now, we're going to pay you some minor composition,'" Anwar told ANC Headstart.

The 1MDB scandal was a large-scale corruption and money laundering conspiracy in 2015 that involved then-PM Najib Razak transferring over 2.67 billion Malaysian ringgit (around P32 billion today) from Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund to his personal bank accounts.

The scandal only came to light after a document leak from The Wall Street Journal exposed the embezzlement, with the US Department of Justice discovering that more than US$4.5 billion was diverted from 1MDB to global conspirators including officials from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The fund remains the subject of corruption and money laundering investigations in several countries. 

For the Malaysian prime minister, a country will only recover its lost reputation only through the integrity of its leader.

"I think I owe it to the innocent people. I mean, why do we have to pay billions of dollars to the complicit crime of others... We are reopening he case and negotiations with Goldman Sachs. They can't say 'it's over'. No, it's not over," he said.