Malaysia issues Goldman Sachs with show-cause letter on 1MDB probe

Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing on the 1MDB scandal. (Reuters)
Updated 14 March 2019
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Malaysia issues Goldman Sachs with show-cause letter on 1MDB probe

  • A show-cause letter typically requires the recipient to explain why they should not be subject to disciplinary action
  • Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing on the 1MDB case

SINGAPORE: Malaysia’s securities commission said on Thursday that it has issued a show-cause letter to Goldman Sachs, which is embroiled in multi-jurisdictional investigations into Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
A show-cause letter typically requires the recipient to explain why they should not be subject to disciplinary action.
“We have issued a show cause to Goldman Sachs,” the chairman of the Malaysia Securities Commission, Syed Zaid Albar, said at a press conference on Thursday.
However, he did not say when the letter was issued or provide any details about its contents. If the commission finds a financial institution violated regulations, its powers include issuing fines or revoking operating licenses.
Goldman Sachs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Apart from facing civil lawsuits, Goldman Sachs is being investigated by Malaysian authorities and the US Department of Justice for its role as underwriter and arranger of three bonds that raised $6.5 billion for 1MDB.
Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing and said certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB had lied to the bank about the use of the proceeds from the bond sales.


Italy endorses China’s Belt and Road plan in first for a G7 nation

Updated 50 min 2 sec ago
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Italy endorses China’s Belt and Road plan in first for a G7 nation

ROME: Italy endorsed China’s ambitious “Belt and Road” infrastructure plan on Saturday, becoming the first major Western power to back the initiative to help revive the struggling Italian economy.
Saturday’s signing ceremony was the highlight of a three-day trip to Italy by Chinese President Xi Jinping, with the two nations boosting their ties at a time when the United States is locked in a trade war with China.
The rapprochement has angered Washington and alarmed some European Union allies, who fear it could see Beijing gain access to sensitive technologies and critical transport hubs.
Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio played down such concerns, telling reporters that although Rome remained fully committed to its Western partners, it had to put Italy first when it came to commercial ties.
“This is a very important day for us, a day when Made-in-Italy has won, Italy has won and Italian companies have won,” said Di Maio, who signed the memorandum of understanding on behalf of the Italian government in a Renaissance villa.
Taking advantage of Xi’s visit, Italian firms inked deals with Chinese counterparts worth an initial 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion). Di Maio said these contracts had a potential, future value of 20 billion euros.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) lies at the heart of China’s foreign policy strategy and was incorporated into the ruling Communist Party constitution in 2017, reflecting Xi’s desire for his country to take a global leadership role.
The United States worries that it is designed to strengthen China’s military influence and could be used to spread technologies capable of spying on Western interests.
WARM WELCOME
Italy’s populist government, anxious to lift the economy out of its third recession in a decade, dismissed calls from Washington to shun the BRI and gave Xi the sort of red-carpet welcome normally reserved for its closest allies.
Some EU leaders also cautioned Italy this week against rushing into the arms of China, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying on Friday that relations with Beijing must not be based primarily on trade.
There was not even universal backing for the BRI agreement within Italy’s ruling coalition, with Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who heads the far-right League, warning against the risk of China “colonialising” Italian markets.
Salvini did not meet Xi and declined to attend a state dinner held in honor of the visiting leader on Friday.
Di Maio, who leads the 5-Star Movement, says Italy is merely playing catch up, pointing to the fact that it exports significantly less to China than either Germany or France.
Italy registered a trade deficit with China of 17.6 billion euros last year and Di Maio said the aim was to eliminate the deficit as soon as possible.
After talks with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Di Maio in the morning, Xi flew to the Sicilian city Palermo for a private visit on Saturday afternoon.
He is due to head to Monte Carlo on Sunday before finishing his brief tour of Europe in France, where he is due to hold talks with Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.