Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay a record $2.9 billion in fines for violating U.S. anti-corruption laws in its dealings with a corrupt Malaysian investment fund, the Justice Department said Thursday.
The total sum stems from individual deals the bank reached with regulators in the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore and elsewhere.
Goldman Sachs’ parent company also entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department that will allow it to avoid exiting certain business oppositions.
As part of that agreement, the bank’s Malaysian subsidiary pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for its role in the investment fund known as 1MDB.
“Goldman Sachs today accepted responsibility for its role in a conspiracy to bribe high-ranking foreign officials to obtain lucrative underwriting and other business relating to 1MDB,” acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt said in a statement.
The $2.8 billion settlement is on top of the $2.5 billion it agreed in July to pay the government of Malaysia.
The bank had been accused of helping a Malaysian financier steal billions of dollars from the $6.5 billion, which was supposed to be used to rebuild the nation’s economy.
Instead, the financier Low Taek Jho used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including a $250 million yacht, a stake in the Martin Scorsese film “The Wolf of Wall Street” and properties across the globe.
Goldman bankers earned about $600 million in fees to facilitate the deals that funded the investment. On Thursday, the bank admitted those bankers played a central role in that scheme, siphoning off over $2.7 billion from 1MDB.
“They used those funds to line their pockets and pay $1.6 billion in bribes,” Mr. Rabbitt said. “In addition to the involvement of several Goldman executives other personnel at the bank allowed this scheme to proceed by overlooking or ignoring clear red flags.”
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