- Goldman Sachs made $2.5 billion payment to Malaysia last week
- Bank is in separate discussions with U.S. authorities on 1MDB
Malaysia has dropped criminal charges against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. units, a key step in the $3.9 billion settlement agreement that allows the bank to move on from the 1MDB scandal.
The U.S. bank was discharged amounting to acquittal, according to court proceedings in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
The move marks progress in Goldman Sachs’s efforts to resolve its worst scandal since the financial crisis as it grapples with separate discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice for a settlement over 1MDB.
As part of the deal with Malaysia, the bank had paid $2.5 billion in cash to Malaysia last week and pledged to guarantee the return of $1.4 billion from 1MDB assets seized around the world over the coming years. In exchange, Malaysia would drop criminal charges against the bank’s units over accusations that they misled investors in raising billions of dollars for 1MDB while allegedly knowing the funds would be misappropriated.
Goldman Sachs had to boost its legal reserves by $2.01 billion to account for the Malaysia settlement, shaving its second-quarter net income by 85% and wiping out what had been a surprise jump in profit due to trading gains.
The scandal surrounding 1MDB had led to the ouster of Malaysia’s former premier Najib Razak in 2018 and triggered corruption investigations in at least 10 countries including Singapore and Switzerland. Najib was found guilty of corruption last month and sentenced to 12 years in jail in the first trial over the scandal to reach a conclusion, while Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, the alleged mastermind, is yet to be found.
By : Hadi Azmi and Yantoultra Ngui – BLOOMBERG