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Goldman Sachs Sued by Abu Dhabi Sovereign Wealth for Role in 1MDB Scandal

November 22, 2018

Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company just filed a lawsuit against Goldman Sachs for conspiracy to further criminal schemes connected with Malaysia’s 1MDB fund.

In what likely will be just the first of many such lawsuits, the Abu Dhabi fund identified Goldman Sachs and employees of Goldman Sachs named earlier this month by the U.S. Justice Department in a separate set of charges filed earlier this month.

In that earlier action, on November 1 the Justice Department identified former Goldman Sachs Southeast Asia chairman Tim Leissner and Ng Chong Hwa, a former Goldman Sachs banker, as co-conspirators in a $2.7 billion money laundering and bribery scheme involving the 1MDB Malaysian development fund. That fund is currently headed up by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is not charged but implicated in multiple ways in the scandal. That suit alleges Goldman Sachs illegally conspired to get the government of Malaysia to award major bond agreement contracts with Goldman in return for other financial consideration.

As part of a plea deal with the Justice Department for his role in the crimes, former SE Asia Goldman exec Leissner agreed to pay $43.7 million as at least partial restitution.

In the current suit by International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), the lawsuit says that, “This action seeks redress for a massive global conspiracy on the part of the defendants to defraud and injure plaintiffs.” It also named former executives from IPIC and another company, Aabar as defendants in the  suit. The legal filing went on to say that, “As part of the scheme, Goldman Sachs conspired with others to bribe IPIC’s and Aabar’s former executives … to joint the conspiracy and act against the interests of IPIC and Aabar.”

A Goldman Sachs spokesman said in a written statement that, “We are in the process of assessing the details of allegations and fully expect to contest the claim vigorously.”