It has become a given that white collar criminals, particularly bankers, never need fear a jail sentence because they always settle (at the expense of their shareholders of course).
1MDB has already proven something of an exception in that regard. Singapore put two BSI bankers behind bars for their part in the scandal as well as the Singapore head of the Abu Dhabi Falcon Bank, Jens Sturzenegger, widely considered as having taken the flack for his superiors, including former CEO Eduardo Leeman (ex-Goldman Sachs) now under criminal investigation in Switzerland.
In America Goldman’s two Asia based operatives Tim Leissner and Roger Ng are also in the midst of criminal proceedings, with Leissner having pleaded guilty and paid a $43 million fine for cooking up 1MDB’s bond deals and associated kickbacks to Najib Razak (the former PM prefers to call them ‘donations’ thereby exempting him from the whopping RM1.69 billion tax demand he just received).
However, today’s sweeping charges against 17 top executives and former executives at Goldman Sachs International form a league of their own and bear out the repeated claims by US prosecutors in their own indictments lodged last year (against Leissner, Ng and Jho Low) that several other top executives were knowlingly involved in the fraud and that such complicity in getting round compliance issues formed part of the culture of the bank.
One of the key former executives named by Malaysia was the former Vice President of Goldman Sachs International Mike Sherwood in London, who signed off on the 1MDB bond deals, which were apparently guaranteed by the bank.
Sarawak Report spotted the link at the end of 2016 when the high-flyer in charge of emerging markets suddenly resigned shortly after the year he delivered record bonuses for his department thanks to the commissions raised by the bonds in 2013. Sherwood himself received £13 million thanks to the bumper windfall provided by the 1MDB inflated commission charges.
Then, late November 2016 Sherwood shocked the City by announcing a snap retirement decision. A week later the Singapore Monetary Authority publicly confirmed it was Sherwood who signed off on the 1MDB bond arrangements.
A segment of that article is laid out below. Meanwhile, piling on the pressure is undoubtedly a deliberate tactic by Malaysia’s top prosecutor to force the bank to help make good the country’s loses for which the Attorney General has demanded reparations of no less than $7.5 billion from Goldman Sachs.
Faced with depreciation of the assets Jho Low and others lavished money on, compensation from Goldman Sachs is certainly one way Malaysia could hope to recoup the major losses from this scandal. And, given the deadly nature of the evidence starting to emerge against the bank there is certainly a good chance of getting the money if it spares these individuals.
Neighbouring Singapore heaped yet more international humiliation on the Prime Minister, who had to sack his own Attorney General and Deputy (and many more besides) in order to pretend he didn’t steal billions from the public.
As the UMNO goons (all decked out in blue today) whooped and cheered, Singapore fined Coutts Bank and Standard Chartered, both for transferring money that the Monetary Authority described as having been misappropriated by 1MDB.
“The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has imposed multi-million dollar fines on the Singapore branches of Standard Chartered bank and Coutts & Co for breaching anti-money laundering regulations in relation to 1MDB-related fund flows through these banks, it said in a release on Friday (Dec 2).
StanChart was fined S$5.2 million and Coutts was fined S$2.4 million. [Singapore Straits Times]
Najib has, as we all know, declared that no money was misappropriated from 1MDB. He has also said that the $681 million that popped up in his personal account, which the US Dept of Justice traced back to 1MDB, in fact came from a secret Saudi Sheikh.
Cheers and claps from UMNO (more dedak please).
What are genuine good Muslims or good Christians or good anybody to make of such behaviour?
It seems not only has this man made his country financially bankrupt, he has made his party morally bankrupt.
Indeed, there is good reason to believe that Najib’s sudden fighting talk about a snap early election is precisely because he is fearful of further damning revelations from the international investigations into the world’s biggest ever kleptocracy scandal.
Singapore has not only moved against these two banks. The Monetary Authority also inflicted a ten year ban on the former Asia boss of Goldman Sachs.
Tim Leissner, a personal friend of Najib’s and Jho Low fixed up all the dodgy 1MDB bond deals totalling $6.5 billion, through the agency of corrupt collaboration with two Abu Dhabi fund managers working for Aabar.
The bank had already sacked Leissner and he is said to be cooperating with the US financial authorities, who are also investigating this, the world’s biggest single kleptocracy scandal ever, in a relentless fashion.
Few observers of 1MDB are in any doubt but that the distinctly fishyGoldman commission on those bond issues hides further dirty corrupt practices that appear to have involved more massive kickbacks for Jho Low’s ring of fraudsters serving Najib and rich payments to those who collaborated from other outfits.
The grilling of Leissner and others ought flush out the truth, sooner rather than later.
Fat Mike was till that moment considered a major contender to take over the top post at the bank, having built up its ’emerging markets’ business in a quite spectacular fashion in those lean post-crash years, just as 1MDB was getting going.
A big part of those fantastic profits were owing to 1MDB and today Singapore’s Monetary Affairs Authority confirmed that Sherwood signed off on those bond deals:
“Mr Leissner, who left Goldman Sachs in February, managed the client relationship with 1MDB for all of its three bond issues from 2012-13.
A team of Goldman Sachs staff, mainly from Hong Kong but also from Singapore, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, arranged the bond issues and they were fully underwritten by London-based Goldman Sachs International, the MAS said.[Financial Times]
Should Sherwood have judged differently on touching such a deal and indeed on releasing an offer document that praised 1MDB for having a ‘robust three tier management structure free from political influence’ when in fact the fund was completely controlled by Najib and half the money raised was stolen on day one?
Perhaps, if this was not the actual reason Fat Mike resigned, then it should have been and perhaps soon we will receive the opinion of US regulators on the matter also?
Consider the news that made Fat Mike so famous back in the UK in the first place. It was the fact that in the depth of a belt tightening recession for everyone else (as a result of a financial crash for which Goldman Sachs was in very large measure responsible) he and his UK international team issued the biggest bonuses ever in the winter of 2014.
Sherwood himself clinched no less that £13 million newspapers estimated. Significantly, this hand-out was not for profits made that year, but the previous year of 2013 – exactly when GSI was reaping in its nearly $700 million reward, purely for having raised three dodgy bond deals for 1MDB:
So, like Sherwood, has Najib also decided to move before things get worse and to throw caution to the winds with a snap election before even more gets out about 1MDB?