Malaysian officials have publicly demanded Goldman Sachs cough up $7.5 billion in recompense for its role in the 1MDB scandal. However, they’ve discussed a payment as low as $2 billion in private talks with the investment bank, according to Bloomberg.
Malaysian authorities are considering accepting $2 billion to $3 billion from Goldman, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The bank raked in $600 million for helping 1MDB, Malaysia’s state investment fund, raise $6.5 billion in 2012 and 2013, Bloomberg said.
1MDB bought privately owned power plants and planned to create a new financial district in Kuala Lumpur. However, it racked up $12 billion in debt instead of financing its initiatives through foreign investment, and most of the money it raised was allegedly embezzled or laundered.
The US Justice Department alleges more than $4.5 billion was funneled through fraudulent shell companies to corrupt officials, instead of being spent on public infrastructure projects, according to the Washington Post.
The Malaysian government is pressuring Goldman to pay. It filed criminal charges against the bank last December, seeking more than $2.7 billion in fines and charges. It has charged 17 of its former and current executives including Alibaba president Michael Evans.
Goldman Sachs declined to comment. The bank has previously described charges against it as “misdirected” and said the targeted entities would be “vigorously defended.”
Malaysia might be open to settling for less than a third of its public target, but prosecutors are also ramping up efforts to have the criminal case heard in the country’s high court, Bloomberg reported. Malaysia’s prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, wants to make progress before the year ends as he’s pledged to restore the money allegedly siphoned from the country’s coffers, the news outlet added.
It’s unclear whether Malaysian prosecutors would drop charges against Goldman and its bankers if a deal is reached, Bloomberg reported.