Goldman Sachs has been hit with two class action lawsuits on behalf of investors who claim they were misled over the bank’s involvement in the 1MDB scandal.
Two separate cases have been filed at district court in New York over the past 48 hours by Pomerantz LLP and Rosen Law Firm. They allege that Goldman Sachs failed to disclose its dealings in a fraud and money laundering scheme around the Malaysian state development fund to investors, who bought shares between 2014 and 2018.
The bank’s share price has fallen 29% since early November, when reports started to link it with closer involvement in the scandal.
News reports claimed Lloyd Blankfein, who was the CEO and is now chairman of Goldman Sachs, held initial meetings with Malaysian financier Jho Low, who has been accused of masterminding the fraud.
Pomerantz and Rosen Law Firm have not disclosed how much they are seeking in damages through their respective class action suits.
Goldman Sachs said in a statement: “The 1MDB bond offerings were meant to raise money to benefit Malaysia; instead, a huge portion of those funds were stolen for the benefit of members of the Malaysian government and their associates. The lawsuits are without merit and we intend to vigorously contest them.”
It comes as Malaysia called for Goldman to pay $7.5bn (£5.9bn) in reparations over its dealings with the state development fund, days after laying criminal charges against the bank.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Malaysia’s finance minister Lim Guan Eng said the bank should cover the $6.5bn (£5.1bn) it helped raise for 1MDB through three bond sales and shell out an extra $1bn to cover the $600m it charged in fees for its work, and the bond interest rates which were set higher than market standards.
It also emerged on Friday that Singapore has expanded a criminal investigation into 1MDB to include Goldman Sachs. Authorities are looking at whether the $600m in fees from the three bond deals arranged between 2012 and 2013 flowed through the bank’s Singapore subsidiary, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.
Singapore police declined to comment on the report. Goldman said in a statement that it “continues to cooperate with all authorities investigating this matter”.
Earlier this week, Malaysian prosecutors filed its own criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two of its former bankers, Tim Leissner and Roger Ng Chong Hwa, who are accused of helping misappropriate $2.7bn (£2.1bn), bribing officials and giving false statements when helping to issue bonds.
They are being charged alongside Low and the former 1MDB employee Jasmine Loo Ai Swan.
US prosecutors allege that around $4bn (£3.2bn) eventually vanished from 1MDB. They say the proceeds were used by conspirators to buy luxury real estate in New York and other prime locations, pricey artwork and to fund the production of Hollywood films including The Wolf of Wall Street.
Goldman Sachs has consistently denied any wrongdoing and insists it was lied to about how the proceeds of the bond sale were used.
This article was written by Kalyeena Makortoff Banking correspondent, for theguardian.com on Friday 21st December 2018 19.10 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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