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The fund at the center of a scandal in Malaysia

02 November 2018

The DoJ on Thursday charged Low along with two former Goldman Sachs bankers, Ng Chong Hwa and Tim Leissner.

Mr. Leissner, the charging documents said, arranged to pay bribes and kickbacks to officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi with either the help or knowledge of several unnamed conspirators, one of whom was identified as "an Italian national who was employed as a participating managing director" at Goldman.

Mr Leissner, who left Goldman in February 2016, has been ordered to forfeit $43.7m.

Roger Ng, the other charged former Goldman banker, was arrested in Malaysia, prosecutors said. A lawyer for Mr. Leissner could not be reached for comment.

In an online chat between Low and Leissner in June 2014, Low and Leissner "discussed the need to "suck up to" a 1MDB official and to send "cakes" to a person believed to be the wife of Malaysian Official #1", U.S. authorities said in a statement.

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The criminal charges are the first to be brought by USA authorities over the vast, long-running scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

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. Prosecutors charge that Malaysian officials stole billions from the fund to buy property, art and other items including investments in movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street.

Goldman Sachs underwrote about US$6.5 billion in bonds issued by 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a sovereign wealth fund set up to help develop the country, according to the USA government.

Goldman provided an array of services to the fund, including helping it sell billions of dollars in bonds to investors, earning about US$600-million in fees for its work. Najib chaired its advisory board and as finance minister held veto power over its activities.

"As noted in the indictment today, Mr".

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

MO1 is not named in full, but is described as "a Malaysian national and high-ranking official in the Malaysian government and the MOF (Finance Ministry) from in or around at least 2009 until in or around 2018 with high-level authority to approve 1MDB business decisions", the filings with the US District Court Eastern District of NY said. He has called the Malaysian charges political.

In June, anti-corruption investigators questioned Najib's wife about alleged theft and money-laundering. Police have also seized hundreds of luxury handbags, jewelry and cash - worth more than $266 million - during raids on apartments linked to Najib's family. Working with the FBI, Indonesian authorities seized Low's $250 million luxury yacht Equanimity off Bali in February and Malaysia's government is now auctioning it.

Mustian reported from NY.

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The fund at the center of a scandal in Malaysia