Straits Herald February 25, 2020

Three units of Goldman Sachs pleaded not guilty Monday in Malaysia over the investment bank’s alleged role in the multi-billion-dollar scandal at the country’s sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, official media reported.

Huge sums were allegedly looted from the Malaysian fund in a globe-spanning fraud, which reportedly involved ex-leader Najib Razak and his inner circle.

Goldman’s role has been under scrutiny as it helped arrange a series of bond issues worth $6.5 billion for the investment vehicle.

Malaysia in 2018 filed charges against the units — Goldman Sachs International, Goldman Sachs (Asia), and Goldman Sachs (Singapore).

They were accused of giving false statements that led to large sums being misappropriated in relation to the bond issues.

A Goldman Sachs representative entered not guilty pleas at Kuala Lumpur High Court, Malaysia’s national news agency Bernama reported.

The judge said the trial would begin in November.

Goldman has previously vowed to fight charges against it linked to 1MDB, saying the former Malaysian government and the fund lied to the bank.

Former Goldman executive Tim Leissner pleaded guilty to bribery and money laundering conspiracy charges linked to the 1MDB case, and agreed to a lifetime ban from the securities industry.

The scandal played a major role in Najib losing power in 2018 and he has since been arrested and put on trial.

The US Department of Justice, which is investigating the scandal as money was laundered through the American financial system, estimates that some $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund. – AFP