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Ex-Goldman Sachs bankers charged over Malaysian investment fund scam

Ex-Goldman Sachs bankers charged over Malaysian investment fund scam

New York: The US Justice Department has announced multiple charges against two former Goldman Sachs bankers linked to Malaysia's state investment fund scandal.

The agency said on Thursday that Tim Leissner, former Southeast Asia chairman, conspired to launder money and violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, reports CNN.

Leissner has pleaded guilty and will forfeit $43.7 million.

The Justice Department also unsealed an indictment against Roger Ng, a former Goldman Sachs banker, and Malaysian financier Jho Low, who allegedly played a central role in the scheme to launder billions of dollars from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund.

The US government has said that Ng and Low also paid bribes to foreign officials.

Ng and Leissner allegedly worked to circumvent internal accounting controls at Goldman, which underwrote more than $6 billion in bonds issued by 1MDB in 2012 and 2013.

The bank made about $600 million in fees and revenue for its work with the fund, according to the indictment.

Ng was arrested earlier on Thursday in Malaysia, according to the Justice Department, while Low remains at large.

Another Goldman banker, Andrea Vella, has been placed on leave, pending a review of alleged conduct related to the 1MDB case, an informed source told CNN.

A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs (GS) said in a statement that the firm continues to cooperate with all authorities investigating the matter.

A spokesperson for Low said that he maintains his innocence, and "simply asks that the public keep an open mind regarding this case".

Low held no formal position at 1MDB and was not employed by Goldman Sachs, or the governments of Malaysia or Abu Dhabi, the spokesperson added.

The Justice Department has previously filed civil asset forfeiture suits to reclaim goods they said were bought with money stolen from the 1MDB fund.

Federal officials have claimed that laundered funds were pumped into New York condos, hotels, yachts and a jet, and used to fund Hollywood films such as "The Wolf of Wall Street".

The agency alleges that $4.5 billion from 1MDB was misappropriated by high-level officials at the fund.

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