Goldman Sachs Fined $2.9 Billion Over 1MDB Scandal

The bank will pay fines to the FCA, PRA, DOJ and several other regulators in a global settlement for bribery and mismanagement.

Goldman Sachs has been ordered to pay $2.9 billion in fees and penalties to settle charges over its involvement in the 1MDB scandal.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) announced late on Thursday that they would fine Goldman Sachs £97 million for its risk management failures connected to the scheme, forming part of a global settlement with regulators across the US, the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The settlement includes the largest fine ever issued under corporate criminal bribery law.

The Department of Justice claimed that the bank ignored signs of fraud from some of its senior bankers in a scheme that saw the Malaysian economic development fund being defrauded out of around $2.7 billion.

Goldman Sachs had earned $600 million in fees for helping 1Malaysia Development Berhad raise over $6.5 billion to be invested in Malaysian energy development. Much of this money was looted, with over $2.7 billion diverted towards private purchases of luxury real estate, art, yachts, and in one instance to help finance the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

Authorities alleged that senior staff at Goldman Sachs were involved in the embezzlement, with at least one former banker involved in the case having pleaded guilty to charges. Goldman Sachs’ Malaysian branch agreed to a $3.9 billion settlement with Malaysian prosecutors in July, and on Thursday pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate US anti-bribery laws.

UK regulators focused on the bank’s alleged failure to adequately investigate signs of misconduct among its staff when they came to light. “When confronted with allegations of bribery and staff misconduct, the firm’s mishandling allowed severe misconduct to go unaddressed,” said Mark Steward, the FCA’s executive director of enforcement and market oversight, in a statement.

“There is no amnesty for firms that tackle financial crime poorly, and the size of GSI’s fine reflects that.”

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon addressed mismanagement at the bank in a statement on Thursday. “We recognise that we did not adequately address red flags and scrutinize the representations of certain members of the deal team, most notably Tim Leissner, and the outside parties as effectively as we should have,” he said.

To pay the fines levelled against it, the bank is seeking to clawback $76 million in compensation paid to former staff connected with the 1MDB case. In addition, its board is cutting long-term share deals for former executives and cutting current executives’ pay by $31 million.

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