Malaysia files criminal charges against Goldman Sachs in 1MDB investigation

Malaysian authorities have filed criminal charges against investment bank Goldman Sachs in connection with a money laundering and corruption inquiry at the country's state investment fund 1MDB.

Filed under Malaysia's securities laws, former Goldman bankers Tim Leissner and Roger Ng, former 1MDB employee Jasmine Loo and the fugitive financier known as Jho Low were also included in the charges.

The probe is scrutinising three bond offerings raised by Goldman Sachs and others for 1MDB to a total of $6.5bn (£5.2bn), which are now under investigation in at least six countries.

Goldman Sachs said the charges were "misdirected", adding that the bank is cooperating with all investigations. It has denied all wrongdoing.

"The charges arise from the commission and abetment of false or misleading statements by all the accused in order to dishonestly misappropriate $2.7bn from the proceeds of three bonds issued by the subsidiaries of 1MDB, which were arranged and underwritten by Goldman Sachs," said Malaysia's attorney general Tommy Thomas.

Thomas said prosecutors will seek fines against all accused parties "well in excess" of the allegedly stolen funds, as well as $600m in fees received by Goldman Sachs.

Each of the individuals involved will face requests for jail terms of up to 10 years.

He added: "Having held themselves out as the pre-eminent global adviser/arranger for bonds, the highest standards are expected of Goldman Sachs. They have fallen short of any standard."

Low, who has maintained his innocence to date, has been the focus of several search attempts by international authorities after having his Malaysian passport revoked earlier this year. Last week, Malaysian authorities put his super yacht up for sale with a price tag of $130m.

The yacht is among $1.7bn in assets allegedly bought by financier Low and his associates with money taken from the fund, according to the US Department of Justice. These also included a private jet, Picasso paintings, real estate and jewellery.

Last month, Leissner pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money in the US, and agreed to pay $43.7m. Ng was arrested by Malaysian authorities, and is expected to be extradited to the US. Loo's whereabouts are unknown.

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