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1MDB: Ex-Goldman Sachs bankers, financier charged over Malaysian fraud scandal

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Although the bank knew Mr. Leissner was at the center of the investigation, the breadth of the charges appeared to have caught Goldman off guard.

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U.S. charges two Goldman Sachs execs, Tim Leissner and Roger Ng, with money laundering and violating foreign anti-bribery laws in vast Malaysian fraud #1MDB

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Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn announced that Tim Leissner, former partner for Goldman Sachs in Asia, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and agreed to forfeit $43.7 million.

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Goldman on Thursday suspended Mr. Vella, according to a person with direct knowledge but was not authorized to speak publicly.

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2 former Goldman Sachs bankers were charged in a vast Malaysian fraud. One pleaded guilty, potentially putting pressure on Goldman.

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Prosecutors have previously gone after assets they claim were tainted by monies stolen from hedge fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd — including targeting profits from the film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a Bombardier jet, New York City and Los Angeles real estate, and works by Van Gogh and Claude Monet.

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Prosecutors say Low, Ng, and Leissner conspired to launder the proceeds of fraud involving 1MDB through the U.S. financial system.

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Low, Ng, Leissner and others also conspired to bribe government officials in Malaysia, including at 1MDB — a state-owned and -controlled fund intended to fund economic development projects in the country — and Abu Dhabi to keep lucrative deals to themselves, federal prosecutors said.

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Fugitive Malaysian financier Jho Low and two former Goldman Sachs bankers were indicted in Brooklyn federal court for a money laundering scheme that involved bribing public officials, authorities announced Thursday.

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Court filings unsealed on Thursday showed that federal prosecutors have built out their case since they first filed charges against Mr. Leissner in June.

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NEW YORK/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors unveiled criminal charges on Thursday against two former Goldman Sachs bankers and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho tied to the alleged theft of billions from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

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During one exchange with Mr. Leissner, Mr. Low advised of the need to “suck up to” 1MDB officials, including sending “cakes” — that is to say, bribes, according to government filings.

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According to that filing, the co-conspirator identified separately as Mr. Vella agreed with Mr. Leissner and Mr. Ng, in a 2012 meeting, to keep Goldman’s compliance department in the dark about the scheme to bribe government officials to secure financing for a deal.

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Low and Leissner were also caught in intercepted online chats in 2014 discussing how to “suck up” to a 1MDB official and planning to send “cakes” to a woman they believed was the wife of another government official, per court docs.

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While U.S. prosecutors have previously filed civil asset forfeiture suits for assets allegedly bought with some of the stolen funds, these are the first criminal charges the Justice Department has brought against individuals in the case under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a federal law targeting official bribery abroad.

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Roger Ng, the other charged former Goldman banker, was arrested in Malaysia at the request of U.S. authorities and is expected to be extradited, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for the prosecution.

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Low, the alleged mastermind of the fraud, and ex-Goldman banker Roger Ng were charged with conspiring to launder billions of dollars in stolen funds, and conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by allegedly bribing officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.

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