Goldman Sachs Bankers Charged In Malaysian Financial Scandal

02 November, 2018, 14:58 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • AFP pic

Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho and former Goldman Sachs bankers Tim Leissner and Roger Ng Chong Hwa were indicted on charges of conspiracy to launder billions of dollars in illegal proceeds from Malaysia's 1MDB wealth fund, U.S. federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said yesterday.

Jho Low: Malaysian financier arrested in the US faces charges of laundering billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB and conspiring to violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials.

Low, Ng and Leissner are the first individuals to be charged in the USA in relation to the scandal at the state investment arm.

Goldman Sachs, which garnered US$600 million in fees and revenues from three 1MDB bond transactions detailed in the indictments, has said previously it has received subpoenas and requests for information on the case from various governments and regulatory bodies. The banker, Andrea Vella, was put on leave in October, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The 1MDB scandal refers to a money laundering and bribery scheme that pilfered billions of dollars from a Malaysian investment fund set up in 2009 by Najib to promote economic development in the country.

An estimated US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates, the US Justice Department has alleged.

The money was supposed to support development projects, but prosecutors say the three men "conspired to launder" more than $2.7bn through the U.S. financial system, and used this money to pay bribes and "for the personal benefit of themselves and their relatives".

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News reports say Ng has been arrested in Malaysia. Low misappropriated billions of dollars from the 1MDB fund.

Prosecutors have previously gone after assets they claim were tainted by monies stolen from hedge fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd - including targeting profits from the film The Wolf of Wall Street, a Bombardier jet, New York City and Los Angeles real estate, and works by Van Gogh and Claude Monet.

Some of those allegations were described in civil forfeiture complaints filed by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles previous year.

As part of the three-count indictment, Ng is also charged with conspiring to violate the FCPA by circumventing the internal accounting controls of a major New York-headquartered financial institution (Financial Institution), which underwrote more than US$6 billion (RM25 billion) in bonds issued by 1MDB in three separate bond offerings in 2012 and 2013, while Ng was employed at the Financial Institution as a managing director. He has called the Malaysian charges political. When the banks questioned large money transfers, the conspirators used fake business documents to address their concerns, the department says. A lawyer for Mr. Leissner could not be reached for comment.

Goldman did not immediately have a comment Thursday.

Mr Ng was a managing director at Goldman until his departure in May 2014. It was not immediately clear who is representing Ng. Both Leissner and Ng departed the bank over 12 months ago.



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