Malaysia filed charges against Goldman Sachs in regard to its dealings with a state investment fund, which is now home to a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal. Goldman Sachs arranges and underwrote bond sales for 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in 2012 and 2013.
Attorney General Tommy Thomas said in a statement Monday that the US investment bank and four individuals – two being former Goldman employees – are accused of “grave violations” of Malaysia’s securities laws
According to the US Justice Department, a total of $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MBD by senior officials. US officials claim the laundered funds were used towards New York condos, hotels, yachts and a jet, and used to fund movies such as “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Thomas accused the bank and four individuals of misleading investors about the bond sales, resulting in fraudulently diverting $2.7 billion of the proceeds.
“Having held themselves out as the pre-eminent global adviser / arranger for bonds, the highest standards are expected of Goldman Sachs,” Malaysia’s attorney general said in the statement. “They have fallen far short of any standard. In consequence, they have to be held accountable.”
Prosecutors will seek fines against both Goldman Sachs and the accused individuals in excess of $3.3 billion, he stated. That figure represents the amount allegedly misused, plus an additional $600 million in fees that Goldman received on its end of the work deal.
“We believe these charges are misdirected and we will vigorously defend them and look forward to the opportunity to present our case,” a Goldman Sachs spokesman said in a statement. “The firm continues to cooperate with all authorities investigating these matters.”
In addition, prosecutors will press for prison sentences of up to 10 years for the individuals, Thomas said.
One of the two former Goldman Sachs bankers facing criminal charges is its former South East Asia chairman Tim Leissner, as CNN reports. Leissner pleaded guilty in August for conspiring to steal money from 1MDB. He told a US federal court that Goldman’s “culture” encouraged executives to work around the legal team to gain business.