Australia downplays Turnbull Jr’s revelation over 1MDB

 |Mar 9, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Australia is worried that Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak might decide to withdraw from participating in the upcoming Asean-Australia special summit.

This came following remarks made by Australia’s Prime Minister’s son, Alex Turnbull regarding 1MDB transactions.

However it remains optimistic that the remarks will not mar the Malaysia-Australia relationship ahead of the special summit later this month, The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported.

The two-day summit, from March 17 to 18, will be inaugurally held in Australia.

SMH has described it to be a possible “bitter blow” to the Australian government if Najib decided not to attend to summit because of the statement.

Canberra considers Najib a close ally in the fight against extremism, and in cooperation over counter-terrorism matters.

The report added that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte had already withdrawn from the summit, citing commitments at home, and that there was a possibility that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen might also pull out fearing possible criticism of his human rights record at the event.

According to SMH, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declined to take any questions about his son’s comments on the 1MDB-Goldman Sachs deal when asked about it today.

“No. No. No. I’m not going to, I’m not going to comment on it,” he was quoted as saying.

Yesterday, The Australian reported that Alex had claimed he was sidelined at Goldman Sachs after he raised questions about deals involving 1MDB.

According to the report, in 2012 and 2013, Alex was working in Singapore at Goldman Sachs when the organisation raised bonds for 1MDB worth US$6 billion.

Alex, however, was not involved in the transactions.

Alex told The Australian he raised concerns with colleagues about the high price and the lack of clarity in offer documents about the use of the funds.

He said when the 1MDB deal was done with Goldman, he sent an email to some of his colleagues asking what was going on. “The pricing is nuts, what is the use of funds?” he had asked.

He claimed his action resulted in “talking-to” by the firm’s compliance officials, claiming he was “b-tracked”.

Alex worked for Goldman Sachs’ special situations division from 2010 to 2014, when he resigned to start his own Singapore-based hedge fund, Keshik Capital.

SMH said Alex declined to comment on the article by The Australian, maintaining that he had been misquoted.