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.


Big oil feels the heat on climate as industry leader promises: ‘We will be different’

Updated 22 January 2020

Big oil feels the heat on climate as industry leader promises: ‘We will be different’

  • Trump singles out ‘prophets of doom’ for attack
  • Greenpeace told the Davos gathering that the world’s largest banks, funds and insurance companies had invested $1.4 trillion in fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal

LONDON: Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg slammed inaction over climate change as the global oil industry found itself under intense scrutiny on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The teenage campaigner went head to head with US President Donald Trump, who dismissed climate “prophets of doom” in his speech.
She in turn shrugged off the US president’s pledge to join the economic forum’s initiative to plant 1 trillion trees to help capture carbon dioxide.
“Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough,” Thunberg said. “It cannot replace mitigation. We need to start listening to the science and treat this crisis with the importance it deserves,” the 17-year-old said.
The 50th meeting of the World Economic Forum was dominated by the global threat posed by climate change and the carbon economy.
The environmental focus of Davos 2020 caps a year when carbon emissions from fossil fuels hit a record high, and the devastating effects of bushfires in Australia and other climate disasters dominated the news.
Oil company executives from the Gulf and elsewhere are in the spotlight at this year’s Davos meeting as they come under increased pressure to demonstrate how they are reducing their carbon footprint.
“We are not only fighting for our industry’s life but fighting for people to understand the things that we are doing,” said Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental, the US-based oil giant with extensive oil operations in the Gulf. “As an industry when we could be different — we will be different.”

‘Planting trees is good, but nowhere near enough,’ activist Greta Thunberg told Davos. (Shutterstock)

She said the company was getting close to being able to sequester significant volumes of CO2 in the US Permian Basin, the heartland of the American shale oil industry which is increasingly in competition with the conventional oil producers of the Arabian Gulf.
“The Permian Basin has the capacity to store 150 gigatons of CO2. That would be 28 years of emissions in the US. That’s the prize for us and that’s the opportunity. People say if you’re sequestering in an oil reservoir then you are producing more oil, but the reality is that it takes more CO2 to inject into a reservoir than the barrel of oil that it makes come out,” Hollub said.
The challenge Occidental and other oil companies face is to make investors understand what is happening in this area of carbon sequesteration, she added.
The investment community at Davos is also looking hard at the oil industry in the face of mounting investor concerns.
Greenpeace told the Davos gathering that the world’s largest banks, funds and insurance companies had invested $1.4 trillion in fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal. It accused some of these groups of failing to live up to the World Economic Forum goal of “improving the state of the world.”