Goldman Sachs Bankers Charged In Malaysian Financial Scandal

Goldman Sachs Bankers Charged In Malaysian Financial Scandal

The charges are the first arising from a global scandal over the epic corruption scandal at the state investment fund known as 1MDB.

On Thursday the US Department of Justice unveiled its first criminal charges over the scandal with the indictments of two ex-Goldman Sachs bankers and a shadowy worldwide financier.

The yacht allegedly purchased by Low was seized in Indonesia and has been returned to Malaysia, with the government putting it up for auction.

Educated at Harrow, an elite British prep school, and later at Wharton, his family is said to have made its fortune in mining, trading and garment manufacturing.

It says initially a $1 billion investment was diverted and in subsequent phases money was siphoned from sales of 1MDB bonds.

In the indictment unsealed by a federal court Thursday, prosecutors accuse former Goldman Sachs banker Ng Chong Hwa and financier Low Taek Jho - known as "Jho Low" - with conspiring to launder money embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Berha - known as 1MDB - Malaysia's investment development fund, as well as conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

A three-count indictment charges Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, with misappropriating money from the state-owned fund and using it for bribes and kickbacks to foreign officials, to pay for luxury real estate, art and jewelry in the United States and to help finance Hollywood movies, including "The Wolf of Wall Street".

"Low simply asks that the public keep an open mind regarding this case until all of the evidence comes to light, which he believes will vindicate him".

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

He is also alleged to have violated the anti-bribery laws the u.s.by paying or promising bribes to officials in malaysia and Abu Dhabi so that they can retain Goldman Sachs as bank counsel in transactions "profit". The U.S. Justice Department says he had considerable influence over its dealings. These are the first USA criminal charges to surface in the scandal, which played a large role in the election defeat earlier this year of Malaysia's former prime minister, Najib Razak.

Since his government was swept out of power in a general election in May, Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, have been arrested by authorities in their home country and charged with a raft of graft-related offenses linked with the 1MDB financial scandal. His current whereabouts are unknown, although reports have suggested he is in China.

Ng was arrested earlier today in Malaysia.

James Haggerty, a spokesman for Low, said in an e-mailed statement that Low "maintains his innocence". 1MDB now staggers under enormous debt.

"Before, he was a man of the world, flitting around the world in jet planes and the Equanimity and living a great life, but now he has to hide like a mouse", he said. 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. They say numerous transactions were done through shell companies, which often are used to obscure origins and destinations of illicit activities.

The department said a former Goldman banker pleaded guilty. Singapore fined eight banks for failing to carry out proper anti-money laundering measures in relation to 1MDB and gave prison sentences to several bankers.

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