U.S. prosecutors charged Thursday two former Goldman Sachs bankers and a Malaysian financier in relation to an international fraud involving billions of dollars.
The U.S. Justice Department charged former Goldman Sachs' Southeast Asian chairman Tim Leissner for his engagement in the '1Malaysia Development Berhad' (1MDB) money laundry scandal.
Prosecutors announced that Leissner had pleaded guilty to conspiracy of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and agreed to forfeit $43.7 million.
This financial scandal came out in 2015 when the former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was denounced to have taken about US$700 million from 1MDB, a state-owned fund established in 2009 to attract foreign investments.
According to investigations carried out by the U.S. Justice Department, the money diverted from the fund was used to acquire assets such as real estate and works of art. The money misappropriated from 1MDB was also used to finance the 'The Wolf of Wall Street' movie.
Roger Ng, the other former Goldman banker, was arrested in Malaysia and is expected to be extradited to the U.S.
The third person charged, the Malaysian financer Jho Low, is currently at large. An Interpol red notice, however, is on place against him.
The 1MDB investigations also showed that Low, Ng, and Leissner conspired to launder more than $2.7 billion through the U.S. financial system. Among other things, these illegal resources were diverted to bribe Malaysians officials to win 1MDB business for Goldman Sachs.