Malaysia to summon two Goldman Sachs units ahead of 1MDB case

Malaysia is seeking up to $7.5 billion in reparations from Goldman Sachs for the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal. (AFP)
Updated 18 March 2019
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Malaysia to summon two Goldman Sachs units ahead of 1MDB case

  • The 1MDB scandal played a major role in the electoral defeat that ended Najib Razak’s near decade in power
  • Malaysia has said it was seeking up to $7.5 billion in reparations from Goldman Sachs

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian prosecutors on Monday said they would issue summonses to units of US investment bank Goldman Sachs in London and Hong Kong, requiring them to respond by June to criminal charges filed against them last year.
Soon after being elected in May, 2018, a new government charged three units of Goldman Sachs for misleading investors by making untrue statements and omitting key facts in relation to bond issues totaling $6.5 billion for state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
On Monday, only the Singapore unit of Goldman Sachs appeared at a pre-trial hearing in a Kuala Lumpur court as a respondent.
“Fresh summonses will be served on the United Kingdom and Hong Kong offices of Goldman Sachs ahead of the next court hearing on June 24,” prosecutor Aaron Paul Chelliah told reporters.
The 1MDB scandal played a major role in the electoral defeat that ended Najib Razak’s near decade in power, and a new government led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad promptly re-opened corruption investigations.
Najib, who has consistently denied wrongdoing, is facing multiple criminal charges, mostly linked to 1MDB, and has been barred from leaving the country.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has estimated that a total of $4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level 1MDB fund officials and their associates between 2009 and 2014, including some of the funds that Goldman Sachs helped raise.
Malaysia has said it was seeking up to $7.5 billion in reparations from Goldman Sachs, including $600 million in fees paid to the bank for the bond issues.
Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing and said certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to it about how proceeds from the bond sales would be used.
A separate Kuala Lumpur court also set April 15 for prosecutors to serve documents to the defense for former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng.
Ng, a Malaysian, was charged on Dec. 19 last year with abetting the bank to provide misleading statements in the offering prospectus for the 1MDB bond sales.
Prosecutor Zaki Arsyad told the court he needed more time to obtain documents as most of them were overseas.
Ng was originally set to be extradited to the United States to face money laundering charges filed against him by the DoJ.
Malaysia, however, has said it may postpone the extradition until Ng can face a domestic trial first.
Tim Leissner, another former Goldman Sachs official, and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho have also been charged in the United States over the alleged theft of billions of dollars from 1MDB. Leissner has pleaded guilty.
Low, whose whereabouts is unknown, has issued denials of any wrongdoing and has refused to return to Malaysia, saying that the case against him is politically motivated.


‘Huge increase’ in crude prices not expected: IEA executive director

Updated 19 July 2019
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‘Huge increase’ in crude prices not expected: IEA executive director

  • The International Energy Agency is revising its 2019 global oil demand growth forecast down to 1.1 million barrels per day
  • IEA’s Fatih Birol: Serious political tensions could impact market dynamics

NEW DELHI: The International Energy Agency (IEA) doesn’t expect oil prices to rise significantly because demand is slowing and there is a glut in global crude markets, its executive director said on Friday.
“Prices are determined by the markets ... If we see the market today, we see that the demand is slowing down considerably,” said IEA’s Fatih Birol, in public comments made during a two-day energy conference in New Delhi.
The IEA is revising its 2019 global oil demand growth forecast down to 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) and may cut it again if the global economy and especially China shows further weakness, Birol told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
Last year, the IEA predicted that 2019 oil demand would grow by 1.5 million bpd. But in June this year it cut the growth forecast to 1.2 million bpd.
“Substantial amount of oil is coming from the United States, about 1.8 million barrels per day, plus oil from Iraq, Brazil and Libya,” Birol said.
Under normal circumstances, he said, he doesn’t expect a “huge increase” in crude oil prices. But Birol warned serious political tensions could yet impact market dynamics.
Crude oil prices rose nearly 2 percent on Friday after a US Navy ship destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, a major chokepoint for global crude flows.
Referring to India, Birol stressed the country could cut its imports, amid rising oil demand in the country, by increasing domestic local oil and gas production.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set a target in 2015 to cut India’s dependence on oil imports to two-thirds of consumption by 2022, and half by 2030. But rising demand and low domestic production have pushed imports to 84 percent of total needs in the last five years, government data shows.
Meanwhile, the IEA doesn’t expect a global push toward environmentally friendly electric vehicles can dent crude demand significantly, Birol said, as the main driver of crude demand globally has been petrochemicals, not cars.
He said the impact of a serious electric vehicle adoption push by the Indian government would not be felt immediately.