Malysia files charges against current, former Directors

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Malaysia’s  Attorney general said on Friday that seventeen current and former Directors in a subsidiaries of Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N)  has been charged for multi-billion-dollar corruption and  are currently on investigation at State fund IMDB,

Goldman Sachs has been under scrutiny for its role in helping to raise $6.5 billion through bond offerings for 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the subject of corruption and money laundering investigations in at least six countries.

Friday’s charges were brought under a section of the Malaysian Capital Markets and Services Act that holds certain senior executives responsible for any offences that may have been committed, Attorney General Tommy Thomas said.

“Custodial sentences and criminal fines will be sought against the accused … given the severity of the scheme to defraud and fraudulent misappropriation of billions in bond proceeds,” Thomas said in a statement.

The individuals charged include Richard Gnodde, chief executive of Goldman Sachs International and Michael Sherwood, former vice chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc and co-chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs international, Thomas added.

Goldman Sachs said the charges were misdirected.

Last year, Malaysia filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two of the U.S. bank’s former employees in connection with 1MDB. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the bank for its role as underwriter and arranger of the bond offer.

An estimated $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by fund officials and their associates between 2009 and 2014, the U.S. Justice Department has said.

“We believe the charges announced today, along with those against three Goldman Sachs entities announced in December last year, are misdirected and will be vigorously defended,” a Goldman Sachs spokesman in Hong Kong told Reporters.

The bank has consistently denied wrongdoing and said certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to Goldman Sachs, outside counsel and others about the use of transaction proceeds.

Tim Leissner, a former partner of Goldman Sachs in Asia, pleaded guilty last August to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and agreed to forfeit $43.7 million.

Malaysia has said it was seeking up to $7.5 billion in reparations from Goldman over its dealings with 1MDB, set up in 2009 by then Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Najib, ousted in an election last year, is facing dozens of criminal charges related to 1MDB. He has pleaded not guilty and denied wrongdoing.

 

Zainab Sa’id