Malaysia rejects ‘less than $2bn’ Goldman compensation offer over 1MDB

Goldman Sachs’s role has been under scrutiny as it helped arrange bond issues worth billions for 1MDB, with Malaysia claiming large amounts were misappropriated in the process. (AFP)
Updated 02 November 2019

Malaysia rejects ‘less than $2bn’ Goldman compensation offer over 1MDB

  • Huge sums were stolen from Malaysian state fund 1MDB in a fraud allegedly involving former prime minister Najib Razak and his cronies
  • Goldman Sachs’s role has been under scrutiny as it helped arrange bond issues worth billions for 1MDB

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia rejected a compensation offer of “less than $2 billion” from Goldman Sachs for the role of its subsidiaries in the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal, an aide to the country’s prime minister said Saturday.
Huge sums were stolen from Malaysian state fund 1MDB in a fraud allegedly involving former prime minister Najib Razak and his cronies, and spent on everything from high-end real estate to a luxury super-yacht.
Goldman’s role has been under scrutiny as it helped arrange bond issues worth billions for 1MDB, with Malaysia claiming large amounts were misappropriated in the process and seeking $7.5 billion in redress.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who reopened an investigation into the scandal after seizing power last year, told the Financial Times his government spurned a much smaller offer by the Wall Street titan.
“Goldman Sachs has offered something like less than $2 billion,” he said in a Friday interview with the newspaper.
“We are not satisfied with that amount so we are still talking to them ... If they respond reasonably, we might not insist on getting that $7.5 billion,” he added, without providing further details.
A staff member traveling with Mahathir, who is currently in Bangkok, confirmed the premier’s remarks to AFP on Saturday.
Last year, Malaysia filed charges against three units of the bank and two ex-employees over the scandal.
Additional charges were filed in August against 17 current and former executives of the three Goldman subsidiaries, which the Wall Street titan later said were “misdirected.”
The news comes days after US officials said that Low Taek Jho, a central figure in the scandal, agreed to forfeit $700 million in assets as part of efforts to recover the stolen money.
Mahathir said this week Malaysia would ask America to hand over what it has recovered from Low, in what is the largest ever US civil forfeiture.


At Davos, innovative products point to a sustainable future

Updated 24 January 2020

At Davos, innovative products point to a sustainable future

  • A single tree that to bear 40 different types of apple

DAVOS: The World Economic Forum is not all about the fourth industrial revolution or the rise of AI.

You can also find all manner of strange and intriguing products on display from biodegradable plastic made from algae to wallpaper made from recycled corn husks.

One stand titled “How do you design a tree?” is part of a conservation effort where a single tree is designed to bear 40 different types of apple.

Another stand displays colored seaweed on a rack, showing how clothes can be dyed in a sustainable, non-chemically corrosive manner.

Propped along a large wall is Fernando Laposse’s wallpaper made of variations of purple corn husks that are reinforced with recycled cardboard and cork to create wallpaper and furniture. The husks come from corn that needs very little water and can be grown in the desert, which makes it all the more sustainable.

“This initiative helps the local economy as it brings in jobs and a resurgence of crafts and food traditions while also ensuring sustainability,” Laposse said.

Another display shows a machine that extracts pellets from a mixture of algae and starch and is used to create a thread that is the base of 3D printing. These sustainable, biodegradable plastics made from algae are being experimented with in different regions.

With the rise of deep fakes — a branch of synthetic media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness — another stand delivers a warning on the looming dangers of unregulated software.

The Davos forum prides itself on its sustainability, and key topics have included climate, mobility, energy and the circular economy. Everything is recyclable, and participants must download an application in order to keep up with the program and any changes — a move to cut down on paper waste.