Goldman Sachs Bankers Charged In Malaysian Financial Scandal

Jho Low contacted Mahathir's adviser last week to seek immunity: Report

Goldman Sachs arranged bond offerings that helped the fund raise more than US$6 billion, much of which, according to worldwide authorities, was squirrelled away in private accounts and used to buy yachts, paintings and high-end real estate.

"A warrant of arrest was issued and we picked him up yesterday".

Low is seeking immunity in exchange for assistance in finding assets linked to the scandal-ridden fund, Daim said in the report published Wednesday, adding that the government hasn't been swayed.

Mr Daim said that on one occasion, he demanded that Low return to Malaysia and provide names involved in the 1MDB corruption scandal. Low, who was also indicted, remains at large. The company, which earned $600m in fees stemming from its work with 1MDB, has in the past denied wrongdoing and said it was co-operating with the investigation.

The alleged misappropriation of billions of dollars from the 1MDB fund has become the focus of an global scandal reaching from Malaysia to the United States to Hong Kong.

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Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak set up the fund, in which Low played a key role. It relied primarily on debt to fund investment and economic development projects and was overseen by senior Malaysian government officials, according to court records.

The money was supposed to support development projects, but prosecutors say the three men "conspired to launder" more than $2.7bn through the U.S. financial system, and used this money to pay bribes and "for the personal benefit of themselves and their relatives".

The criminal charges are the first to be brought by USA authorities over the vast, long-running scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Funds from 1MDB that were raised for development projects were used to pay for luxury real estate, art, lavish parties and more, US investigators say.

Goldman Sachs, which said it is cooperating in the probe, wasn't named in the DOJ criminal documents, but was referred to as "financial institution #1". A lawyer for Leissner was unavailable for comment when NPR phoned.

Leissner acknowledged paying millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, according to court records. Both deny any wrongdoing.

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At least six countries, including Malaysia, the United States and Switzerland, have been investigating alleged thefts from 1MDB. Najib chaired its advisory board and as finance minister held veto power over its activities.

Najib and his former treasury chief were charged last week with criminal breach of trust involving 6.64 billion ringgit ($1.6 billion), charges that came on top of 32 earlier counts of corruption, breach of trust and money laundering that Najib faces in connection with the 1MDB scandal.

The investigation rocked Malaysian politics earlier this year, leading voters to oust Mr. Najib.

Najib and Mohamad Irwan Serigar Abdullah, the former treasury secretary-general, pleaded not guilty to misappropriating government funds between December 2016 and December 2017.

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