KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia filed criminal charges on Friday against 17 more current and former directors at three Goldman Sachs subsidiaries for their roles in the alleged multibillion-dollar ransacking of state investment fund 1MDB.
Malaysian and U.S. prosecutors allege that bond sales organized by Goldman Sachs for 1MDB provided one of the means for associates of former Malaysian leader Najib Razak to steal billions over several years from a fund that was ostensibly set up to accelerate Malaysia’s economic development.
The government in December filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two former executives for alleged breaches of securities laws including making false, misleading statements to investors.
Attorney General Tommy Thomas said the 17 people in the most recent filings were charged under the Malaysian Capital Markets and Services Act with allegedly conniving to commit the massive fraud.
They include Richard John Gnodde, the CEO of Goldman Sachs International, and John Michael Evans, a former partner at the bank and now president of Chinese conglomerate Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd.
Thomas said in a statement that the government will seek custodial sentences and criminal fines against the 17 accused “given the severity of the scheme to defraud and fraudulent misappropriation of billions in bond proceeds, the lengthy period over which the offenses were planned and executed,” among others.
The 17 were directors of the three Goldman Sachs subsidiaries between May 2012 and March 2013, during which the alleged fraud took place, he said.
The accused face up to 10 years in jail and fines of not less than a million ringgit ($239,000) if convicted.
Najib set up 1MDB when he took office in 2009, but it accumulated billions in debts and U.S. investigators allege at least $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund and laundered by Najib’s associates.
Public anger over the alleged corruption contributed to the shocking election defeat of Najib’s long-ruling coalition in May 2018, and the new government reopened investigations that had been stifled while Najib was in office.
Najib is currently on trial on multiple charges of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering. He denies the charges. His wife and stepson also have charged in the case.
Former Goldman Sachs executive Roger Ng was arrested in Malaysia last year and has been extradited to the U.S., where he also faces charges. Ng is expected to return to Malaysia once his trial in the U.S. ends.
Malaysia’s current government has also filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and is seeking $7.5 billion in compensation from the bank.