U.S. charges financier, former Goldman bankers for 1MDB

Hugh Fox
November 3, 2018

As part of the deal, Leissner will forfeit $43.7 million.

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.

The scandal has raised fresh questions about corporate culture at the prestigious investment bank.

Low acted as an intermediary for 1MDB but the ex-Goldman bankers concealed his involvement in the bond offerings, and repeatedly circumvented the bank's oversight tools for countering fraud, according to the charges.

Putrajaya would like to get its hands on fugitive financier Low Taek Jho first, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

Criminal scheme, Hollywood films and exquisite artwork. He is accused of conspiring with Ng to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

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Goldman provided an array of services to the fund, including helping it sell billions of dollars in bonds to investors, earning about US$600-million in fees for its work.

Roger Ng, the other charged former Goldman banker, was arrested in Malaysia, prosecutors said.

"They also allegedly conspired to launder the proceeds of their criminal conduct through the United States financial system by purchasing, among other things, luxury residential real estate in New York City and elsewhere, and artwork from a New York-based auction house, and by funding major Hollywood films". Malaysian officials have said Low is believed to be living in China.

A spokesman for Low did not immediately respond to a request for comments. Among its services, it helped raise $6.5 billion for the fund and earned nearly $600 million in fees for the bond issuance. Leissner, Ng and others received large bonuses in connection with that revenue.

The money was supposed to support development projects, but prosecutors say the three men "conspired to launder" more than $2.7bn through the United States financial system, and used this money to pay bribes and "for the personal benefit of themselves and their relatives".

Gigi Hadid and Mr. Jho Low attend Angel Ball 2014 hosted by Gabrielle's Angel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on October 20, 2014 in New York City. The 93-year-old is now prime minister and reopened the probe into the 1MDB fund. Police have also seized hundreds of luxury handbags, jewelry and cash - worth more than $266 million - during raids on apartments linked to Najib's family.

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Low's whereabouts aren't publicly known and Malaysia has sought Interpol's help to locate and arrest him.

He is cooperating with DOJ investigators, The Wall Street Journal reported. Prosecutors from the Justice Department's money-laundering and asset-recovery division also played an active role in the foreign bribery investigation. Both Leissner and Ng departed the bank over 12 months ago.

The charges in the indictment as to Low and Ng, according to the department, are merely allegations, and those defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.

Low's statement said that he held no formal position at 1MDB and was never employed by Goldman Sachs or the governments of Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.

"Furthermore, the bond offerings detailed in the indictment were undertaken openly and lawfully between experienced, well-regulated financial institutions and government entities".

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Top sources indicated that the Central government played hardball and made things hard for the Central bank. Anonymously-sourced media reports indictated also that the finance minister would not go through the step.

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