US prosecutors target Goldman Sachs in 1MDB probe

Reuters pic

WASHINGTON: US prosecutors are investigating whether Goldman Sachs Group Inc has any culpability in a Malaysian fraud involving a government fund that had ties to a former bank employee, the New York Times reported yesterday.

1MDB is at the centre of money-laundering investigations in at least six countries, including the US, Switzerland and Singapore.

An estimated US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has alleged.

The investigation into how US$4 billion disappeared from 1MDB has involved US attorneys’ offices in Los Angeles and New York, but the DoJ gave control to federal prosecutors in Brooklyn who are “intensively focused” on Goldman’s role, the Times reported, citing people familiar with the probes.

Goldman, which generated about US$600 million in fees for its work with 1MDB, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said it is fully cooperating with authorities.

Spokesman Michael DuVally directed Reuters yesterday to the bank’s disclosures about 1MDB probes in a quarterly filing which said the bank has received subpoenas and information requests from a number of government bodies and regulators.

Brooklyn prosecutors are also considering criminal charges against former Goldman investment banker Tim Leissner, who worked closely with 1MDB, the Times said.

Leissner’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

DoJ spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman declined to comment.