Malaysia files charges against Goldman Sachs unit directors

Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak leaves a court in Kuala Lumpur after his trial over alleged involvement related to 1MDB. (AFP)
Updated 09 August 2019

Malaysia files charges against Goldman Sachs unit directors

  • An estimated $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014, according to the US Justice Department

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has filed criminal charges against 17 current and former directors at subsidiaries of Goldman Sachs Group in a multi-billion-dollar corruption investigation at state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the attorney general said on Friday.

Goldman Sachs has been under scrutiny for its role in helping to raise $6.5 billion through bond offerings for 1MDB, the subject of corruption and money laundering investigations in at least six countries.

Friday’s charges were brought under a section of the Malaysian Capital Markets and Services Act that holds certain senior executives responsible for any offenses that may have been committed, Attorney General Tommy Thomas said.

“Custodial sentences and criminal fines will be sought against the accused ... given the severity of the scheme to defraud and fraudulent misappropriation of billions in bond proceeds,” Thomas said.

The individuals charged include Richard Gnodde, chief executive of Goldman Sachs International, and Michael Sherwood, former vice chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and co-chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs international.

Goldman Sachs said the charges were misdirected.

“We believe the charges announced today, along with those against three Goldman Sachs entities announced in December last year, are misdirected and will be vigorously defended,” a Goldman Sachs spokesman in Hong Kong told Reuters.

The bank has consistently denied wrongdoing and said certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to Goldman Sachs, outside counsel and others about the use of transaction proceeds.

Last year, Malaysia filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two of the US bank’s former employees in connection with 1MDB. The US Department of Justice is investigating the bank for its role as underwriter and arranger of the bond offer.

An estimated $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by fund officials and their associates between 2009 and 2014, the US Justice Department has said.

Tim Leissner, a former partner of Goldman Sachs in Asia, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and agreed to forfeit $43.7 million.

Malaysia has said it was seeking up to $7.5 billion in reparations from Goldman over its dealings with 1MDB, set up in 2009 by then prime minister Najib Razak.

Najib, ousted last year, is facing dozens of criminal charges related to 1MDB. He has pleaded not guilty and denied wrongdoing.


Getting more women into leadership positions top priority: CEO

This June 23, 2018 photo, shows a general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
Updated 18 January 2020

Getting more women into leadership positions top priority: CEO

  • Saudi Arabia is focusing on the Business 20 (B20), making this one of the key engagement groups. Women in Business will be Saudi Arabia’s signature topic

RIYADH: The boss of one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest banks says that getting more women into leadership positions is a top priority.
Samba CEO Rania Nashar chairs the action council for Women in Business created by the Business Twenty (B20), which is the official G20 dialogue with the business community. It represents the global business community across all G20 member states and all economic sectors.
She said the council was set up to boost women’s particpation not only in business but also in global leadership positions.
During the launch of the B20 in Saudi Arabia this week, Nashar highlighted the under-representation of women in the economy.
“There is a gap of 27 percent between male and female workers; 75 percent of males are part of the labor force while only 48 percent of females are working,” she said.
She said it was important not to just talk about women as workers but as business owners.

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Saudi Arabia will host the 15th G20 Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 21-22, 2020.

“That’s why entrepreneurship is very fundamental to our task force,” she said.  “The majority of the finance development programs have incentives for giving loans to females; however, despite the fact that many large borrowers are females, the amount of loans granted to them is far below what is granted to males,” she added.
Nashar said that two-thirds of female business founders feel that they were not taken seriously by investors when they pitch for investments. They also feel that they are treated differently from their male counterparts.
Saudi Arabia will host the 15th G20 Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 21-22, 2020. The Kingdom is focusing on the Business 20 (B20), making this one of the key engagement groups. Women in Business will be Saudi Arabia’s signature topic.