Goldman completes deal to end complaint over 1MDB

US bank Goldman Sachs announced the settlement deal in principle on July 24. (Bloomberg pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Malaysia signed an agreement to finalise the bank’s US$3.9 billion settlement over the 1MDB scandal.

The US bank, which had announced an agreement in principle on July 24, confirmed the formal accord in a regulatory filing late on Tuesday in New York. The firm must make a US$2.5 billion cash payment to Malaysia within 10 days, people with knowledge of the matter said this week, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

The pact marks a major step towards resolving the scandal surrounding 1MDB, the state fund that’s at the centre of global investigations into corruption and money laundering.

The deal announced in July called for Goldman to pay US$2.5 billion while guaranteeing the return of US$1.4 billion of 1MDB assets seized by authorities around the world, in exchange for Malaysia dropping charges against the bank.

The deal helps the bank move on from its worst scandal since the financial crisis, while Malaysia gets to recoup much of the US$4.5 billion that prosecutors said was lost from 1MDB at a time when it’s seeking funds for its massive stimulus package.

Over much of a decade, 1MDB has become shorthand for one of the world’s most daring heists – a conspiracy that spawned probes in Asia, the US and Europe. Authorities spent years tracking funds that allegedly flowed from 1MDB into high-end art and real estate, a super yacht and, ironically, the hit Hollywood movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”, chronicling an earlier era of financial crimes.

The case against the bank focused on its work raising US$6.5 billion in 2012 and 2013 for the fund, much of which was allegedly siphoned off by people connected to the country’s former prime minister.

Goldman’s investment-banking group, led at the time by now-CEO David Solomon, collected an unusually high US$600 million from the bond sales.

The pact doesn’t resolve other pending governmental and regulatory probes related to 1MDB, including one from the US Department of Justice.