Malaysia has extended pressure on Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs, filing criminal charges against 17 current and former directors of the bank’s subsidiaries over alleged involvement in the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal.
Goldman Sachs has been under scrutiny for its role in helping to arrange $6.5 billion through bond offerings for Malaysian state fund, the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The fund is at the center of one of the biggest financial scandals of all time, and is now being investigated for money laundering.
In the filings issued on Friday, Malaysian Attorney General Tommy Thomas said the executives mentioned in the document should be held responsible for the US bank’s role in the scheme. The prosecution wants to seek custodial sentences and criminal fines for the accused, “given the severity of the scheme to defraud and fraudulent misappropriation of billions in bond proceeds, the lengthy period over which the offenses were planned and executed.”
Each charge carries a maximum jail term of 10 years and a penalty of at least 1 million ringgit ($239,000), according to Reuters.
The list includes 17 people who were in charge of three Goldman Sachs subsidiaries between May 2012 and March 2013, during which the alleged fraud took place, according to the attorney general. Richard Gnodde, who leads the bank’s international business in London, as well as Canadian business executive Michael Evans, a former Goldman Sachs Asia chief who is currently the president of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, were among those charged on Friday. British banker Michael Sherwood, former vice chairman of the Wall Street firm, is also on the list.
The latest case adds to last year’s accusations, when Malaysian authorities filed charges against three Goldman Sachs units and two ex-employees. Kuala Lumpur is seeking $7.5 billion in compensation from the bank.
The US investment bank has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, claiming it fell victim to the previous corrupt Malaysian government. Commenting on the latest accusations, Goldman Sachs said the charges were misdirected and promised to “vigorously” contest them.