By Elffie Chew, Yantoultra Ngui and Sridhar Natarajan
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has reached a $3.9 billion pact with Malaysia, marking a big step in the Wall Street giant’s efforts to resolve its worst scandal since the financial crisis.
The settlement includes a payment of $2.5 billion to Malaysia to resolve probes into the U.S. bank’s role in a scheme to plunder the Asian nation’s 1MDB investment fund, the ministry of finance said on Friday. It also guarantees that at least an additional $1.4 billion will come from 1MDB assets seized by authorities around the world, according to a Goldman Sachs statement.
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 U.S. 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 Wall Street firm focuses on its work raising $6.5 billion in 2012 and 2013 for the fund formally known as 1Malaysia Development Bhd., 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-Chief Executive Officer David Solomon, collected an unusually high $600 million from the bond sales.