Now, Sarawak govt questioned over Goldman Sachs deal

By Chew Lip Song

THE federal government’s recent RM16.6 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs over the 1MDB scandal has a Sarawak lawmaker now turning his attention on the international financier’s role in raising funds for the state.

Stampin Member of Parliament Chong Chieng Jen said Goldman Sachs had also arranged for offshore loans to be borrowed by the Sarawak government in the past. Just like 1MDB, it had arranged for the issuance of multi-billion bonds for the state government.

“Given Goldman Sach’s track-record in 1MDB, the questions that all Sarawakians must ask are: Was there any misappropriation of funds involved like that of the 1MDB bond? Was the proceeds of the bonds used properly and to the benefits of the people of Sarawak?” Chong said in a statement.

He added that just as the Barisan Nasional federal government had claimed that the 1MDB deals with Goldman Sachs was above board prior to the 2018 general election, the Gabungan Parti Sarawak had also claimed that there was no misappropriation over the issuance of the bonds.

“Is this the true facts of the matter? Only with a change of government of the State can one convincingly claim so,” added Chong who is also state DAP chairman.

Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman said Goldman Sach’s proposed RM16.6 billion settlement was due to the change in government following the 2018 general election.

This is because before the polls, the BN government had insisted that 1MDB had not done anything wrong and therefore would not have done anything to recover unlawful proceeds.

It was reported yesterday that the Finance Ministry said Goldman Sachs had agreed to a total settlement of US$3.9bil (RM16.63bil) to resolve outstanding charges and claims related to the three bond transactions that the investment bank had structured and arranged for 1MDB.

The settlement included a cash payment of US$2.5bil (RM10.66bil) and a guarantee for a full recovery value of at least US$1.4bil (RM5.97bil) in assets that were traceable to the diverted proceeds from the three bond transactions.

Previously, the government had charged Goldman Sachs and 17 current and former directors of its units with allegedly misleading investors over bond sales totalling US$6.5bil (RM27.74bil) that the company helped raise for sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

According to the US Department of Justice, Goldman Sachs earned US$600mil (RM2.56bil) in fees for its work with 1MDB.