Goldman Sachs says it was lied to in 1MDB scandal – report

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 18): Goldman Sachs is fighting back against criminal charges from the Malaysian government, saying it was the victim of deceptive Malaysian officials in a scandal that has rocked the bank's shares this year, according to CNBC.

Citing a statement from Goldman, CNBC today quoted the New York-based bank as saying that certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1Malaysian Development Bhd (1MDB) lied to Goldman Sachs, outside counsel and others about the use of proceeds from these transactions.

The bank was criminally charged Monday by Malaysian authorities for its role in creating the state investment fund known as 1MDB.

It is the first time the bank itself faces criminal charges for 1MDB, a US$6.5 billion fund whose contents were plundered by a disgraced Malaysian financier and others.

CNBC said Malaysian officials are demanding at least US$3.3 billion from Goldman Sachs for the episode.

"1MDB, whose CEO and board reported directly to the Prime Minister at the time, also provided written assurances to Goldman Sachs for each transaction that no intermediaries were involved," the bank said.

"Under the Malaysian legal process, the firm was not afforded an opportunity to be heard prior to the filing of these charges against certain Goldman Sachs entities, which we intend to vigorously contest. These charges do not affect our ability to conduct our current business globally,” it said.

CNBC said the "intermediary" may be Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, known as "Jho Low," who has been accused of laundering billions of dollars embezzled from the state investment fund 1MDB.

CNBC said Goldman appears to be going on the offensive, amid increasing pressure on the firm's shares.

It said the bank has plunged 34% this year, the worst among its big bank peers, thanks to negative headlines tied to the 1MDB scandal.

The bank could face up to US$5 billion in costs tied to 1MDB in a worst case-scenario, as well as another 18 months of overhang, bank analyst Mike Mayo said Monday in a research note.