Malaysia charges 17 Goldman Sachs figures over 1MDB scandal

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Malaysian prosecutors have filed criminal charges against 17 more current and former directors at three Goldman Sachs subsidiaries over their role in the alleged multibillion-dollar ransacking of state investment fund 1MDB.

Malaysian and US prosecutors allege that bond sales organised by Goldman Sachs for 1MDB provided one of the means for associates of former Malaysian leader Najib Razak to steal billions over several years from a fund that was ostensibly set up to accelerate Malaysia’s economic development.

The government filed criminal charges in December against Goldman Sachs and two former executives for breaches of securities laws, including making false, misleading statements to investors.

Attorney general Tommy Thomas said the 17 people in the most recent filings were charged under the Malaysian Capital Markets and Services Act for conniving to commit the massive fraud.

Najib set up 1MDB when he took office in 2009, but it accumulated billions in debts and US investigators allege at least 4.5 billion dollars (£3.7 billion) was stolen from the fund and laundered by Najib’s associates.

Public anger over the alleged corruption contributed to the shocking election defeat of Najib’s long-ruling coalition in May 2018. The new government reopened investigations that had been stifled while Najib was in office.

Najib is currently on trial for alleged criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering. He denies the charges. His wife and stepson have also been charged in the case.

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Former Goldman Sachs executive Roger Ng was arrested in Malaysia last year and has been extradited to the US, where he also faces charges.

Malaysia’s current government has also filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and is seeking 7.5 billion dollars (£6.17 billion) in compensation from the bank.

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