PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia will proceed with filing criminal charges against Goldman Sachs Group over 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) next year although the investment firm has indicated that it intends to reach a settlement.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said Goldman Sachs was reported as saying that it intended to reach an out-of-court settlement with the United States' Department of Justice (DOJ).
"Our government does not have information about this matter but we will still pursue criminal charges against Goldman Sachs. I was informed by the Attorney-General that the case will be heard in court in the middle of next year," he said.
"We still want to claim payment of US$7.5 billion (S$10.1 billion) for the losses caused by Goldman Sachs alone in the 1MDB scandal."
A recent Bloomberg report, which quoted three unnamed sources, had said that Goldman Sachs could end up paying less than US$2 billion to resolve US criminal and regulatory probes over its role in raising money for 1MDB.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad recently told Reuters that Malaysia would prefer to avoid going to court, but only if a reasonable offer could be agreed upon.
He said the investment bank's offer of "one point something billion dollars" as compensation was too small.
Malaysia has charged Goldman and 17 current and former directors of its units for allegedly misleading investors over bond sales totalling US$6.5 billion that the US bank helped raise for sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
Tun Dr Mahathir said Malaysia has demanded US$7.5 billion from Goldman and negotiations were ongoing.
US authorities say about US$4.5 billion was siphoned from 1MDB, founded in 2009 by then Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The scandal helped Dr Mahathir unexpectedly defeat his predecessor Najib in a general election last year.
Dr Mahathir had also said Malaysia would not agree to a settlement with fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, accused of playing a central role in the scam.
Low, more popularly known as Jho Low, has consistently denied wrongdoing and says he does not expect a fair trial in Malaysia as long as Dr Mahathir is in power.