Why the Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs should contact the Malaysian Government to offer an acceptable settlement for its criminal facilitation of the 1MDB “kleptocrtacy at its worst” scandal

It is most ironic that the Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs is criminally involved in the facilitation of the 1MDB “kleptocracy at its worst” scandal of Malaysia.

Goldman Sachs has produced top-notch United States government leaders, and some of the former Goldman Sachs employees who have moved on to top government positions include former US Secretaries of the Treasury Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson and current US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, former US Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn, European Central Bank President Mario Craghi, former Bank of Canada and current Governor of Bank of England Mark Carney.

In addition, former Goldman employees have headed the New York Stock Exchange, the World Bank, and competing banks such as Citigroup and Merrill Lynch.

Goldman Sachs has a compliance group responsible for managing and overseeing compliance policies and internal accounting controls covering bribery, money-laundering, conflicts of interest, personal investments, outside activities, etc.

Goldman Sachs Chief Executive David Solomon said in Singapore last week that he felt “horrible” that two former employees “blatantly broke the law” in their dealings with Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Soloman said:

“It is obviously very distressing to see two former Goldman Sachs employees went so blatantly around our policies and so blatantly broke the law.

“I feel horrible about the fact that people who worked at Goldman Sachs, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a partner or it’s an entry level employee, would go around our policies and break the law.”

He said that Goldman Sachs take compliance and control in the firm “extremely seriously” and will continue “to cooperate with the authorities and there’s a process in place and that process will proceed.”

It is worth a thought as to whether the Goldman Sachs executive would have reached such a “horrible” conclusion if the people of Malaysia had not made the historic decision in the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018 to topple Datuk Seri Najib Razak from power in a peaceful and democratic transition of power so as to get to the bottom of the 1MDB “kleptocracy at its worst” scandal.

Goldman Sachs raised nearly US$6.5 billion in three bond sales for 1MDB between 2012 and 2013.

According to the US Department of Justice, more than US$2.5 billion raised from these bonds was misappropriated by high-level 1MDB officials, their relatives and associates.

In the process, Goldman earned almost US$600 million for the three deals – described as “a jaw-dropping” amount of close to 10%, far in excess of the normal 1-2 percent fees a bank could expect for helping sell bonds.

The fees alone – 5 to 10 times more than usual rate – should raise the red flag that something fishy was going on, which today has proven to be true.

It has been said that the US$600 million in fees earned would make 1MDB the most profitable client in the world for Goldman during those years and reminds us of the wisdom of the saying that there is no free lunch in the world.

If Goldman Sachs is genuine and sincere in its contrition about Goldman Sach’s “horrible” crime in facilitating the 1MDB scandal, through Tim Leissner, Roger Ng and other Goldman Sachs bankers, then the Wall Street titan should contact the Malaysian Government to offer an acceptable settlement for its criminal facilitation of the 1MDB “kleptocrtacy at its worst” scandal.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri