KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — The High Court here today acquitted and discharged UK-based Goldman Sachs International Ltd and its two Asian entities, Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC and Goldman Sachs (Singapore), on charges relating to the sale of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) bonds amounting to RM27.2 billion (US$6.5 billion).
Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan made the decision after deputy public prosecutor Datuk Masri Mohd Daud informed the court that the prosecution did not intend to pursue the charges against all the accused, and therefore applied to withdraw all the charges against Goldman Sachs.
“Goldman Sachs International Ltd, Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC and Goldman Sachs (Singapore) are therefore discharged amounting to an acquittal from all four charges made against them,” said Justice Mohamed Zaini.
Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik representing Goldman Sachs had earlier asked the court to issue an order for his clients to be discharged amounting to an acquittal from all the charges.
The prosecution did not object to it.
On Feb 24, Goldman Sachs through its representative Ng Keng Leong pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The case was set for case management today and the hearing had previously been fixed to begin on Nov 9 this year.
In December 2018, Malaysia filed four charges against the three entities for allegedly leaving out material facts on the sales of bonds between a subsidiary of 1MDB and Aabar Investment PJS Ltd (Aabar).
The offences were allegedly committed at 1MDB, Level 8, Menara IMC, No. 8, Jalan Sultan Ismail here between March 19, 2012 and Nov 11, 2013.
The company was charged under Section 179 (c) of the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 and punishable under Section 182 of the same Act, which provides for an imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of not less than RM1 million upon conviction.
The United States Department of Justice estimated that about US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014.
On July 4, the Finance Ministry (MoF) said that Goldman Sachs had agreed to a total settlement of US$3.9 billion (RM16.6 billion) to resolve outstanding charges and claims related to the three bond transactions that the company had structured and arranged for 1MDB.
The MoF, in a statement, said the settlement includes a cash payment of US$2.5 billion and a guarantee of a full recovery value of at least US$1.4 billion in assets that are traceable to the diverted proceeds from the three bond transactions.
Meanwhile, Justice Mohamed Zaini has fixed Sept 10 for case management for the case of former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng Chong Hwa, who is facing four counts of abetting Goldman Sachs on the same charges.
The court fixed the date after Masri said the prosecution did not intend to withdraw the charges against the 47-year-old accused.
The court had earlier set today for further case management to obtain the latest development on the status of Ng’s criminal charges at the US District Court, Eastern District of New York.
In May last year, Ng, who is represented by lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan, was extradited to the US to face criminal charges by the US Department of Justice in relation to the 1MDB scandal.