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FBI closing in on Goldman Sachs, 1MDB financial scandal

 | February 25, 2016

Officers are gathering sensitive documents and identifying potential witnesses in a case that has made international headlines and involves top political and business figures.


PETALING JAYA: Officers of the United States’s Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) are getting closer to unravelling the complex and widespread financial scandal involving Goldman Sachs and 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

An international investigator, L Burke Files told the New York Post, the FBI was in the midst of gathering sensitive documents and identifying potential witnesses in the case that involves one of the bank’s chairman for Southeast Asia, Tim Leissner, 45.

It was reported by Bloomberg yesterday, that Leissner had left the firm, with Goldman Sachs spokesman Edward Naylor, confirming this although remaining tight-lipped about any other development.

Meanwhile speaking to the New York Post, Files said, “My sources within the US government have told me that they are looking into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) on all fronts and are actively acquiring documents and identifying witnesses from around the world.”

“They are not interested in fines this time,” Files added, without elaborating.

Goldman Sachs and Leissner have been implicated because of their close ties with high-ranking government officials in Malaysia in the controversial 1MDB, that has seen law enforcement bodies from a host of other countries investigating the investment firm for money-laundering.

Things came to a head when news broke that RM2.6 billion had been deposited into the private bank accounts of Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2013, coupled with numerous reports of the “exorbitant” fees Goldman Sachs charged 1MDB for transactions.

It was also reported that Leissner, an 18-year Goldman veteran “with access to the highest reaches of government in Malaysia” likely made millions from the Goldman Sachs deals he led with 1MDB, that unfortunately for him, turned controversial later.

“I think Goldman is being heavily advised by probably three or four of the top law firms that are saying, ‘Basically, don’t say anything,’ ” said Gary Swiman, head of compliance and regulatory consulting services at the accounting firm EisnerAmper.

When contacted by the New York Post, the FBI said it could not comment on or confirm any of its investigations, while representatives at Goldman Sachs declined to comment as well.


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