Published: Sat, November 03, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Ex-Goldman bankers and financier face U.S. charges

Ex-Goldman bankers and financier face U.S. charges

For 36-year-old Taek Jho Low, or Jho Low, it's a far cry from earlier days of partying with jet-set celebrities like Paris Hilton in Las Vegas and Saint Tropez.

Two former Goldman Sachs investment bankers were charged Thursday with helping to raise money for a Malaysian investment fund that has lost $4 billion, according to federal prosecutors. Also charged was Jho Low, the Malaysian financier whom prosecutors have depicted as being a mastermind of a scheme to misappropriate money from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

Educated at Harrow, an elite British prep school, and later at Wharton, his family is said to have made its fortune in mining, trading and garment manufacturing.

The department said Low's close relationships with high-ranking government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi were central to the scheme, including his relationship with a high-ranking Malaysian government official who had authority to approve 1MDB business decisions, named by the DOJ as "Malaysian Official #1", or MO1. Low had also said he would not "submit to any jurisdiction where guilt has been predetermined by politics and self-interest overrules legal process".

In its LinkedIn profile, Jynwel Capital describes itself as an global private equity investment and advisory firm with 10-50 employees.

"Mr Low simply asks that the public keep an open mind regarding this case until all of the evidence comes to light, which he believes will vindicate him".

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs, which the indictment says raised about $6.5 billion through bond offerings for the fund, said the firm "continues to cooperate with all authorities investigating this matter".

Low's statement said that he held no formal position at 1MDB and was never employed by Goldman Sachs or the governments of Malaysia and Abu Dhabi. The U.S. Justice Department says he had considerable influence over its dealings.

Men walk past a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the fund's flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2015.

Former leader Mahathir Mohamad, outraged over the scandal, came out of retirement and the opposition united behind him in the national elections, leading to Najib's ouster in May.

These are the first criminal charges brought in the case, and the indictment accuses the men of laundering dirty money through the USA financial system by purchasing luxury New York City real estate, artwork from an unnamed New York-based auction houses, and by funding unspecified major Hollywood productions.

Low, Ng and Leissner are the first individuals to be charged in the USA in relation to the scandal at the state investment arm.

Charges were filed in Malaysia in August against Low. 1MDB now staggers under enormous debt.

"They would like to get Jho Low and put him on trial, but he's nowhere to be seen".

The alleged misappropriation of billions of dollars from the 1MDB fund has become the focus of an worldwide scandal reaching from Malaysia to the United States to Hong Kong. They say numerous transactions were done through shell companies, which often are used to obscure origins and destinations of illicit activities.

Prosecutors alleged bribes and kickbacks were paid in connection with Goldman's bond offerings on 1MDB's behalf, which generated some US$600 million in fees for the bank.

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