Goldman Sachs claims trial to 1MDB bond sale charges

KUALA LUMPUR: UK-based Goldman Sachs International Ltd and its Asian entities, Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC and Goldman Sachs (Singapore), pleaded not guilty at the High Court here today to charges concerning the sale of 1MDB bonds amounting to RM27.2 billion (US$6.5 billion).

Goldman Sachs representative Ng Keng Leong made the plea after the charges were read before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan by the court interpreter during case management.

Deputy public prosecutor Zaki Asyraf Zubir, Norinna Bahadun, Aaron Chelliah and Mohamad Mustaffa P Kunyalam appeared for the prosecution, while lawyers Hisyam Teh, Krishna Dallumah, Prem Ramachandran and Chetan Jethawani represented Goldman Sachs.

Zaki Asyraf requested for all charges against the three entities to be tried together and told the court that the prosecution would call 30 witnesses.

Zaini then set the hearing to begin in November.

The dates are: Nov 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13, with hearing to continue the following year (2021) on Jan 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8; Feb 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26; March 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 and 18 and April 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14 and 15.

The court also fixed May 18 for case management.

In December 2018, Malaysia filed four charges against Goldman Sachs International Ltd, Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC and Goldman Sachs (Singapore) for allegedly leaving out material facts on the sale of bonds between a subsidiary of 1MDB and Aabar Investment PJS Ltd (Aabar).

The offences were allegedly committed at 1MDB, Level 8, Menara IMC, No. 8, Jalan Sultan Ismail, here, between March 19, 2012, and Nov 11, 2013.

The company was charged under Section 179 (c) of the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007, punishable under Section 182 of the same act which provides for imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and a fine of not less than RM1 million upon conviction.

The US Department of Justice estimated that about US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014.