Goldman Sachs co-operates in Malaysian fund probe

Goldman Sachs co-operates in Malaysian fund probe

USA prosecutors unveiled criminal charges on Thursday against two former Goldman Sachs Group Inc bankers and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho tied to the alleged theft of billions of dollars from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

Washington on Thursday announced the first criminal charges, including two former bankers from Goldman Sachs, in the vast corruption scandal involving the ex-malaysian Prime minister Najib Razak and affecting the film's Oscar-nominated "The Wolf of Wall Street".

Also charged was Jho Low, the Malaysian financier whom prosecutors have depicted as being a mastermind of a scheme to misappropriate money from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

While US prosecutors have previously filed civil asset forfeiture suits for assets allegedly bought with some of the stolen funds, these are the first criminal charges the Justice Department has brought against individuals in the case under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a federal law targeting official bribery overseas. Ng faces similar charges.

Roger Ng, the other charged former Goldman banker, was arrested in Malaysia at the request of US authorities and is expected to be extradited, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for the prosecution.

Low, who remains at large, issued a statement through a spokesman maintaining his innocence.

These are the first U.S. criminal charges in the case which spawned investigations around the world.

The charges detail how Goldman underwrote bond issuances worth about $6.5 billion for 1MDB, for which the bank earned huge fees.

The charges could also have wider repercussions within the bank.

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He is also alleged to have violated the anti-bribery laws the paying or promising bribes to officials in malaysia and Abu Dhabi so that they can retain Goldman Sachs as bank counsel in transactions "profit". Some of the laundered funds were then allegedly used to pay bribes to obtain business for Goldman.

This is a new problem for the investment banker David Solomon, CEO only since the 1st of October, which should boost Goldman Sachs affected by the problems of speculative activities. At that point, according to a Reuters report, Vella and his co-head were replaced by another veteran Goldman banker.

At least six countries, including Malaysia, the United States and Switzerland, have been investigating alleged thefts from 1MDB.

Concerns escalated in 2014 as 1MDB slid into an $11 billion debt hole, and the intensifying public scrutiny led to a string of revelations concerning missing funds.

Some of those allegations were described in civil forfeiture complaints filed by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles past year. The United States Justice Department on Thursday charged the fugitive Malaysian financier in a money laundering and bribery scheme that pilfered billions of dollars from a Malaysian investment fund created to promote economic development projects in that country. Working with the FBI, Indonesian authorities seized Low's $250 million luxury yacht Equanimity off Bali in February and Malaysia's government is now auctioning it.

Goldman Sachs, which made hundreds of millions from their work with the fund, denies any wrongdoing.

Justice Department documents cite multiple instances in which Low allegedly siphoned funds from bond offerings for kickbacks and bribes to Malaysian officials.

Goldman has repeatedly played down its role in the scandal, saying it was unaware of how money from the fund was being used.

Lawyers for Leissner did not respond to requests for comment.