Three arms of Goldman Sachs reportedly pleaded not guilty Monday to Malaysian charges stemming from the investment bank’s involvement in the massive 1MDB scandal.
A representative for Goldman entered the plea in Kuala Lumpur after a judge read out the charges related to the bank’s alleged role in raising $6.5 billion in bond sales for the state-backed fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, according to the country’s Bernama state news agency.
Malaysian prosecutors filed four charges against Goldman’s units based in London, Hong Kong and Singapore in December 2018, alleging that they misled investors about the bond sales by omitting material facts. The US Justice Department has said some $4.5 billion — including some of the money Goldman helped raise — was looted from 1MDB by playboy financier Jho Low and others.
Goldman has denied wrongdoing and claimed that members of 1MDB and the Malaysian government lied about how money raised from the bond sales would be used. But the bank has reportedly been negotiating a settlement with US regulators that could have it fork over as much as $2 billion and admit guilt in the scandal.
The 1MDB debacle has been expensive for Goldman. The bank’s per-share earnings dropped 22 percent in the fourth quarter of last year as it set aside more than $1 billion related to the allegations that it ignored red flags in arranging loans for the fund.
The Federal Reserve also slapped Goldman partner Andrea Vella with a lifetime ban from the banking industry last month for his role in the affair, which has also ensnared two other executives at the bank.
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