Saturday, December 4, 2021

Govt vows no let-up in bringing 1MDB culprits to justice after RM19 billion settlements

Finance minister says Malaysia's claims on individuals such as Jho Low will not be affected or compromised.

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Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz today said there would be no let-up in the government’s efforts to bring those involved in the 1MDB scandal to justice, after securing agreements from three entities involved for some RM19 billion in settlements.

“1MDB is one of the biggest financial scandals in the country. During this one-year period, the government has never compromised in upholding justice and ensuring that the individuals involved continue to be prosecuted in court,” Zafrul said in his latest report to Putrajaya’s Economic Action Council on the implementation of the Covid-19 stimulus packages.

The government had in July 2020 succeeded in its negotiations with Goldman Sachs for a settlement of RM15.8 billion.

This was followed by AMMB Holdings Bhd which agreed to a global settlement worth RM2.83 billion to resolve outstanding claims and actions related to AmBank’s involvement in the 1MDB issue.

More recently, auditors Deloitte PLT agreed to pay RM324 million to settle claims related to its fiduciary obligations while auditing 1MDB and SRC International Sdn Bhd accounts.

Zafrul said this latest solution would be beneficial for Malaysians as resolving the matter in court would involve time and financial resources.

“With this settlement, the payment of that amount will be expedited and will not be delayed through a time-consuming court system. This amount can also be used to fulfil 1MDB’s outstanding obligations.”

He also reiterated that the settlements would not affect or compromise Malaysia’s claims on individuals such as businessman Low Taek Jho and those still actively sought in connection with the scandal.

1MDB entered the limelight in July 2015, when reports said up to US$700 million had been transferred into the bank accounts of former prime minister Najib Razak from various companies linked to the investment fund.

Prosecutors ultimately alleged that more than US$1 billion made its way into the accounts of Najib, who was slapped with a total of 42 criminal charges.

He has consistently denied any wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB.

In July last year, he was found guilty of seven counts of money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust related to SRC International.

He was sentenced by the High Court to 12 years in jail and fined RM210 million. He has appealed against his conviction.

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