Goldman Sachs bankers ‘cheated’

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Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad gives a speech at Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok, Thailand October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said bankers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc “cheated” the country in dealings with state fund 1MDB and that US authorities have promised to help return the fees the Wall Street bank earned from the fund.

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The US investment bank has been under scrutiny for its role in helping raise funds through bond offerings for 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), which is the subject of corruption and money-laundering investigations in at least six countries.

Goldman’s stock fell to a near two-year low on Monday after Malaysia’s Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng said his country would seek a “full refund” of the around $600 million in fees the bank earned from raising $6.5 billion for the fund.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs on Monday said in an email to Reuters that the bank denied any wrongdoing.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has said about $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, including some money that Goldman Sachs helped raise, by high-level officials of the fund and their associates from 2009 through 2014.

US prosecutors filed criminal charges against two former Goldman Sachs bankers earlier this month. One of them, Tim Leissner, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“There is evidence that Goldman Sachs has done things that are wrong,” Mahathir said in an interview with US news channel CNBC aired on Tuesday.

“Obviously we have been cheated through the compliance by Goldman Sachs people,” he said.

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