Goldman Sachs 1MDB case moved to higher court in Malaysia

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KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) - Two Goldman Sachs Group units facing criminal charges for their alleged role in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal had their cases moved to a higher court in Malaysia.

The High Court on Monday (Dec 16) approved the transfer from the Magistrate's Court for the charges against Goldman Sachs (Asia) and Goldman Sachs International (UK). The petition to transfer the case against a third unit, Goldman Sachs (Singapore), is still pending and will be reviewed at another hearing on Dec 26.

Malaysia's Attorney-General's Chambers told prosecutors to transfer the case to a higher court in September without specifying the reasons, though normally such a move relates to the seriousness of the case.

Goldman's units are accused of misleading investors when arranging US$6.5 billion (S$8.8 billion) of bond sales for troubled state fund 1MDB while allegedly knowing the funds would be misused.

The American bank is said to have been in talks with the authorities in Malaysia and the United States, in a bid to put the 1MDB scandal behind it.

Negotiators for the South-east Asian country have discussed figures of around US$2 billion to US$3 billion in talks with the Wall Street bank, Bloomberg reported in October.

At the same time, the country's top prosecutor Tommy Thomas has said Malaysia has a strong case against Goldman and isn't dropping the charges.

The transfer to the High Court of the case against the Goldman Singapore unit was delayed, as the summons received by the US bank didn't include all of the charges, Deputy Public Prosecutor Aaron Paul Chelliah said on Monday.

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