Goldman Sachs, one of Wall Street’s oldest and most prestigious banks was charged with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which forbids companies or individuals from paying foreign governments to retain business. The bank will have to pay $2.9 billion in fines over its involvement in a Malaysian bribery scheme.
$1.3 billion will go to the Justice Department; $606 million to Malaysia; $400 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; and $154 million to the Federal Reserve. The rest will be split among foreign financial regulators in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The Justice Department alleged that Goldman Sachs ignored signs of fraud among some of its senior bankers in a scheme that ultimately led to a Malaysian government-backed economic development corporation being defrauded out of $2.7 billion. About $1.6 billion was used to pay officials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates to secure work issuing and selling bonds in international markets.
Goldman earned $600 million in fees for helping that corporation, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, raise $6.5 billion to support energy development in Malaysia, but much of the money was looted, with some used to buy luxury real estate and yachts.
The Malaysian branch of Goldman reached a $3.9 billion settlement with Malaysian prosecutors in July and pleaded guilty to violating federal anti-bribery law in a Brooklyn federal court. Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a Kuala Lumpur court for money-laundering connected with the scandal.
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