- Goldman Sachs officials involved in the 1MDB scandal may face a criminal trial in Malaysia, with the nation’s attorney general telling Bloomberg on Friday that he’s ready to advance the prosecution.
- Though Malaysia has already held two or three negotiation rounds with the bank, a settlement remains distant and there is “no reason why we are not going against them,” top prosecutor Tommy Thomas said.
- The statement comes one day after the Wall Street Journal reported Goldman is in talks with the US Justice Department to settle a 1MDB investigation for $2 billion.
- The deal would also involve the bank admitting guilt and hiring an outside party to recommend compliance-policy changes.
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Goldman Sachs executives involved in the 1MDB controversy may face a criminal trial in Malaysia, with the country’s attorney general telling Bloomberg on Friday that he’s ready to push forward with prosecution.
Malaysia’s top prosecutor, Tommy Thomas, is waiting to advance criminal proceedings against the several current and former Goldman officials, but noted that “we need them in the dock,” Bloomberg reported.
“The 17 directors committed crime in Malaysia, which is why they are being charged, so there is no reason why we are not going against them,” Thomas told Bloomberg in a Friday interview.
The statement follows a Thursday report from the Wall Street Journal claiming the bank is in talks with the US Department of Justice to settle a 1MDB investigation for roughly $2 billion. The deal would also involve Goldman admitting guilt and hiring an independent party to recommend compliance-policy changes, The Journal reported.
Thomas helms Malaysia’s case against the bankers involved in the scandal, a group that includes vice chairman Richard J. Gnodde and J. Michael Evans, a former partner who now serves as president of Alibaba Group.
The country has already held two or three rounds of negotiations with Goldman Sachs, according to Bloomberg, and Thomas is open to continuing the talks.
“There is still a Pacific Ocean gulf between Malaysia and Goldman Sachs,” the attorney general said. “But as far as we’re concerned, the door to settlement is always open. They know where we are, they can come and see us if they want to find us.”
The prosecutor isn’t set on following the US and reaching a settlement with the bank. He told Bloomberg that he heard from contacts at the US Justice Department that a finalized deal is “very far away,” and that the conclusion of the US investigation won’t influence Malaysia’s actions against the bank.
Goldman raised $6.5 billion for the 1MDB government fund starting in 2012 and netted roughly $600 million in fees from the business. US authorities claim that much of the money raised was stolen by Malaysian government adviser Jho Low and two Goldman bankers. The bank did little to stop the actions or heed warning signs of illegal behavior, the Justice Department added.
Should Goldman seek to settle with Malaysian authorities, the fee will likely surpass the nearly $2 billion sum sought by the US. Thomas repeated the claim made earlier by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, according to Bloomberg, saying the country seeks the full return of $6.5 billion from bond sales and interest. The total sum would land between $8 billion and $9 billion, Thomas told Bloomberg.
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