Two Ex-Goldman Sachs Bankers Face Charges in 1MDB Case

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Justice Department will unveil charges Thursday against two former Goldman Sachs executives for their alleged roles in the siphoning of billions of dollars from Malaysia’s 1MDB development fund, two people familiar with the matter said.

Tim Leissner, the former head of Goldman Sachs’s Southeast Asia business, and his then-deputy, Roger Ng, helped arrange bond offerings that raised more than $6 billion for the investment fund in deals that were lucrative for the bank. The specific charges aren’t immediately clear.

Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, didn’t have an immediate comment. The charges were reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

The Justice Department is also preparing to indict Low Taek Jho, a Malaysian financier described by U.S. and other authorities as the mastermind of the embezzlement scheme, the Journal reported.

The U.S. alleges that a small coterie of Malaysians led by Low diverted money from 1MDB into personal accounts disguised to look like legitimate businesses, and kicked back some of those funds to officials. Some of the money is alleged to have ended up with former Prime Minister Najib Razak and his family.

The charges are the first to be filed by the Justice Department in the matter involving the development fund, known formally as 1Malaysia Development Bhd. Until now, prosecutors have made their case through civil forfeiture filings.

The prosecutions will also affect Goldman Sachs, since the accusations against the former executives are likely to provide detail of the firm’s conduct in raising funds for 1MDB.

Low is still attempting to broker an immunity deal with authorities, a Malaysian official said in an interview broadcast Wednesday. He’s seeking immunity in exchange for assistance in finding assets linked to the scandal-ridden fund, according to Daim Zainuddin, who led a council advising Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Daim, in the interview, said Malaysia’s government hasn’t been swayed.

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