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Former CEO of Goldman Sachs meets the man at the center of a Malaysian scandal

Lloyd Blankfein, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, met with the businessman in the midst of the huge money-grabbing scandal of the Malaysian public investment fund 1MDB involving former Prime Minister Najib Razak, said Friday to AFP a source close to the file.

The US Department of Justice on November 1 indicted three individuals in this case and refers to a "senior official" in one of the documents on file.

This person, reported to have met Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho at a meeting in New York in 2009, is Mr. Blankfein, said the source confirming information from the Financial Times.

Contacted by the AFP, Goldman Sachs, which sees thus null and void years of efforts to restore its image of bank of the powerful putting first interests before those of its customers, did not wish to comment.

The two men met in November 2009 at a meeting hosted by former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at his hotel in New York while visiting the United States, the source said. required anonymity.

The private reception, which was a kind of outreach, came a few weeks after Mr. Najib created Malaysian public investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to modernize Malaysia.

She laid the foundation for a commercial relationship between the prestigious investment bank and the government, the source added on condition of anonymity.

– Discussions next week –

Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, is accused by US authorities of getting together with two former Goldman Sachs bankers, Tim Leissner and Ng Chong Hwa, to launder "trillions of dollars" allegedly diverted from 1MDB.

The US authorities also blame Tim Leissner, who headed Goldman Sachs in Southeast Asia, and his Malaysian colleague Ng Chong Hwa for violating the US anti-corruption laws (FCPA) in the course of their duties. or by promising bribes to Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials to hold Goldman Sachs as a consulting bank in "lucrative" deals.

The three men took part, according to the US Ministry, in a "conspiracy", which allowed them to divert $ 2.7 billion from 1MDB in the form of retrocommissions in three bond issues in 2012 and 2013 of a total amount of $ 6.5 billion.

Goldman Sachs had been mandated to organize these transactions and received commissions of approximately $ 600 million.

Blankfein did not know Low and did not know he would attend the November 2009 meeting, which was attended by other Goldman Sachs bankers and Najib's entourage, according to the source. The topics covered were broad.

Blankfein, who handed over the operational reins of Goldman Sachs on Oct. 1 to business banker David Solomon, was also scheduled to meet Low on Sept. 25, 2013 as part of a conference hosted by the Malaysian prime minister on Friday. the UN General Assembly in New York, told AFP another source.

But Mr. Low, who was on the guest list, was finally absent.

This raid, which was held at the Time Warner Center on 59th Street at the entrance to Central Park in the heart of Manhattan, brought together private equity firms such as Bain Capital and TPG with the theme "Investing in Malaysia". says the source. Lloyd Blankfein was the moderator.

David Solomon on Wednesday "alarming" accusations of corruption and money laundering against the two former employees of the bank.

The bank is under criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice and says it cooperates. Bank lawyers are scheduled to meet next week in Washington, the federal capital, officials of the investigation, told AFP a source close to the investigation.

It is difficult at this stage to say whether an amicable agreement is possible. The firm has already warned that the various investigations into this case could lead to "the imposition of fines and significant penalties and other penalties."


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