Goldman Sachs appoints lawyer to observe Najib’s 1MDB trial

(Reuters pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Goldman Sachs Group Inc has appointed a lawyer to observe the 1MDB trial of former prime minister Najib Razak.

The US bank is represented by local lawyer Chetan Jethwani, who will hold a watching brief in the hearing set to begin Aug 26.

A watching brief lets lawyers whose clients aren’t directly involved in the case obtain witness statements and documents in the trial, but doesn’t allow them to question witnesses or submit evidence.

Malaysia escalated efforts to prosecute Goldman Sachs by announcing criminal charges against 17 of its current and former directors, after charging three of the bank’s units last year.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas accused the Wall Street firm of misleading investors when arranging US$6.5 billion of bond sales for troubled state fund 1MDB, which lies at the centre of dozens of charges against Najib.

Najib’s second trial revolves around 25 money laundering and corruption charges linked to joint ventures, asset sales and debt issuance by 1MDB.

While his first trial centres around local transactions by a former unit of 1MDB, the upcoming proceeding will trace global money flows from Singapore to Abu Dhabi.