Goldman Sachs’s 1MDB Case Completes Move to Malaysia High Court

(Bloomberg) --

Malaysia completed the transfer of criminal cases against the three Goldman Sachs Group Inc. units facing charges linked to 1MDB to a higher court.

The High Court granted the application to move Goldman Sachs Singapore Pte.’s case from the Magistrate Court, after previous attempts to do so were unsuccessful as the unit hadn’t successfully been served the court summon.

“It’s good news that everything was settled and the case has been transferred,” Aaron Paul Chelliah, deputy public prosecutor, said in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. “At least one step in the process is complete, so it’s a big development for us.”

The step helps advance the 1MDB proceedings that have languished since the Southeast Asian country dragged the U.S. bank into its first criminal case more than a year ago. Attorney-General Tommy Thomas expects the trial to begin in the middle of the year, while saying he’s ready to press ahead with the prosecution by bringing Goldman’s current and former directors to court.

1MDB is at the center of global investigations into corruption and money laundering, with U.S. prosecutors alleging $4.5 billion was siphoned from the troubled state fund. The scandal has roiled Malaysian politics and led to lifetime bans against Goldman bankers including Andrea Vella and Tim Leissner from the financial industry. Leissner has pleaded guilty in the U.S. to charges including conspiring to launder money.

Malaysia accused Goldman of misleading investors in arranging $6.5 billion in bond sales for 1MDB, while allegedly knowing the money would be misappropriated. Prosecutors are seeking fines in excess of both the $2.7 billion of allegedly misused funds and the $600 million in fees the bank received on the deals.

Goldman has previously said it would “vigorously contest” the charges.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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