1Malaysia Development Bhd., better known as 1MDB, is at the heart of a scandal which allegedly saw $4.5 billion misappropriated from the fund.
The charges are the first arising from a global scandal over the epic corruption scandal at the state investment fund known as 1MDB.
About $4bn disappeared from the fund and the claims of corruption led to Malaysia's former prime minister, Najib Razak, being charged with corruption, charges he has denied.
Under one scheme involving a 2012 "Project Magnolia" bond offering by 1MDB, Low allegedly told the ex-Goldman bankers they needed to bribe officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi to guarantee that the transaction went through. "The charges that were leveled, there were no indication or no accusation of benefiting, personally benefiting, from the decisions we have taken". Also charged was Jho Low, the Malaysian financier whom prosecutors have depicted as being a mastermind of a scheme to misappropriate money from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
Roger Ng, the other charged former Goldman banker, was arrested in Malaysia at the request of US authorities and is expected to be extradited, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for the prosecution.
"Mr. Low maintains his innocence". A lawyer for Leissner was unavailable for comment when NPR phoned.
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The three-count indictment on Thursday charges Low Taek Jho of misappropriating money from the state-owned fund and using it to bribe foreign officials and to pay for luxury real estate, art and jewelry in the USA and to fund Hollywood film, including "The Wolf of Wall Street".
His deputy, Ng, was arrested in Malaysia as federal prosecutors in the U.S. laid out conspiracy allegations related to Goldman Sachs's lucrative fundraising for Malaysian wealth fund 1MDB. He denies any wrongdoing.
Ng was arrested in Malaysia and will be extradited to the United States, while Leissner pleaded guilty and was instructed to pay US$43.7 million (RM181.9 million) in restitution of ill-gotten gains. Malaysian authorities have revoked his passport and issued an arrest warrant for him, and have also applied for an Interpol red notice seeking assistance from the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong.
Charges were filed in Malaysia in August against Low.
USA authorities have previously filed civil suits aimed at recovering luxury goods, cash and other items allegedly purchased with money from the fund.
The money was supposed to support development projects, but prosecutors say the three men "conspired to launder" more than $2.7bn through the USA financial system, and used this money to pay bribes and "for the personal benefit of themselves and their relatives".
An attorney for Najib, Shafee Abdullah, dismissed the latest charges as "foolish".
Also charged was a former Goldman Sachs banker, Tim Leissner, who pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy and to conspiring to violate foreign bribery laws. Mr. Ng reported to Mr. Leissner at Goldman. It was not immediately clear who is representing Ng.