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Goldman’s 1MDB case in Malaysia to be moved to higher court

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David Cope, head of financial crime compliance for Asia Pacific at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., right, arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia is seeking to move the 1MDB-linked case against Goldman Sachs Group to a higher court.

Authorities will apply to transfer the case to the High Court, from a magistrate court currently, on Oct 22, prosecutor Aaron Paul Chelliah said on Monday. The order came from the Attorney-General's Chambers, which didn't specify its reasons, he said, adding that such a move is usually due to the seriousness of the case.

Units of the US bank face criminal charges of misleading investors when arranging US$6.5 billion of bond sales for state fund 1MDB while allegedly knowing that the funds would be misused. Malaysia is seeking fines in excess of the US$2.7 billion allegedly misappropriated and the return of US$600 million that Goldman made from the bond deal.

The case involves Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC, Goldman Sachs International (UK) and Goldman Sachs (Singapore).

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The case has progressed slowly as Malaysia had struggled to serve criminal charges against the US bank's units overseas. Prosecutors said in June that they had completed serving the charges, while Goldman said the charges were incomplete. The matter wasn't discussed in court on Monday, the bank's lawyer Hisyam Teh said.

In a separate case, Malaysia has announced charges against 17 current and former Goldman executives around the world. They were directors of the three Goldman units involved in the bond sales.

Goldman is seeking to resolve its entanglement with the 1MDB scandal and "get the Malaysian people the money that they deserve," the bank's president and chief operating officer John Waldron said in a Bloomberg Television interview last week.

"We're focused on getting it behind us and resolving it in an appropriate manner," Mr Waldron said.

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