Former Goldman Sachs bankers and Jho Low charged in Malaysian financial scandal
03 November, 2018, 04:13 | Author: Orlando Hughes
The authorities have examined what role, if any, the firm played in the 1MDB fraud, whether it knew about the alleged fraud and whether it should have done more to uncover the misappropriation of funds.
One former Goldman banker pleaded guilty, the department said.
The 36-year-old Low, whose real name is Low Taek Jho, was indicted in the federal court in the Eastern District of NY on Thursday, the same day the department arrested former Goldman Sachs banker, Ng Chong Hwa (Roger Ng), was arrested in Malaysia. Leissner has been ordered to forfeit $43.7m as a result of his crimes.
These are the first criminal charges brought in the case, and the indictment accuses the men of laundering dirty money through the USA financial system by purchasing luxury New York City real estate, artwork from an unnamed New York-based auction houses, and by funding unspecified major Hollywood productions.
Goldman Sachs has said it is fully cooperating with the investigation and that it had no knowledge of how the money from the fund was being used.
Prosecutors alleged bribes and kickbacks were paid in connecting with Goldman's bond offerings on 1MDB's behalf, which generated some $600 million in fees for the bank.
Mr. Leissner, who worked closely with the Malaysian fund, had been in plea talks with federal prosecutor for some time.
In June, anti-corruption investigators questioned Najib's wife about alleged theft and money-laundering. Leissner admitted to enriching himself far beyond what has been known, saying that more than $200 million in proceeds from 1MDB bonds flowed into accounts controlled by him and a relative. Low, who was also indicted, remains at large.
Former Goldman Sachs banker Ng Chong Hwa, better known as Roger Ng, will be extradited to the United States to help in the probe on 1MDB, police said today. Ng is expected to appear in a Malaysian court on Friday, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Mr Low, who was charged earlier in Malaysia, has repeatedly declared his innocence.
"Mr Low held no formal position at 1MDB, nor was he ever employed by Goldman Sachs, or the governments of Malaysia or Abu Dhabi".
"The US Department of Justice specifically states that the charges in the indictment are allegations, and that Mr".
In a statement dated November 1 that reiterated earlier comments, Low asked that people "keep an open mind" and said evidence will vindicate him.
Goldman did not immediately have a comment Thursday.
Low, Ng and Leissner are the first individuals to be charged in the USA in relation to the scandal at the state investment arm.
The US Justice Department alleges a total of US$4.5 billion was laundered from 1MDB in a scandal that rocked the Southeast Asian nation and which was a key factor in former Prime Minister Najib Razak's removal from office earlier this year.
Former prime minister Najib's stepson, Riza Aziz, is a Malaysian film producer and the co-founder of Red Granite Pictures, the Los Angeles-based film company that produced the movie starring Leonardo Dicaprio.
According to court papers, Leissner's scheme dates back to at least 2009, prosecutors said.
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