Goldman Summoned by New York Bank Regulator Over 1MDB Bond Sales

  • DFS letter seeks more information on bank’s 1MDB underwriting
  • Department chief Vullo requests meeting by end of August

Goldman to Face New York Bank Regulator Over 1MDB Bonds

New York’s top banking regulator asked Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to supply more information about its work for a Malaysian investment fund amid investigations into whether any money laundering, sanctions violations or other misconduct occurred.

Maria Vullo, the head of New York’s Department of Financial Services, asked in a letter Thursday for a meeting with bank officials by the end of the month. She said she wants updated information on due diligence the bank performed for the transfer of proceeds from three bond offerings it underwrote for 1Malaysia Development Bhd. Other areas of interest include the timing of disclosures, data on bond trading and transactions, and documents on coupon and interest payments, the letter shows.

While it hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing, Goldman Sachs has come under intense scrutiny by authorities over its role underwriting $6 billion of bond sales for 1MDB. The government fund is at the center of several international investigations into suspected corruption and money laundering by public officials. Just two months ago, the New York regulator pressed the investment bank for an overview of those inquiries.

“We are aware of their interest in this matter and have been in dialogue with them on it for some time,” said Jake Siewert, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs.

Prosecutors in at least four countries -- Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the U.S. -- are looking into money flows tied to 1MDB, which was established for national development. In the U.S., the Justice Department, Federal Reserve and Securities and Exchange Commission also are examining Goldman Sachs’s dealings with the investment vehicle.

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DFS has jurisdiction in the matter because it licenses banks chartered by the state of New York. Nationally chartered banks are regulated by the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

DFS earlier asked Goldman Sachs whether any interviews have been scheduled with witnesses, according to the person briefed on the matter. It sought copies of any slide presentations made to prosecutors in the U.S. or abroad, and any suspicious activity reports that were filed. It also asked Goldman about any internal review that might be focused on whether bank secrecy laws were violated, or red flags ignored, the person said.

On Thursday, the regulator specifically requested copies of a March 2013 presentation Goldman Sachs prepared for 1MDB during one of the bond sales.

The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 was passed in an effort to stop organized crime from laundering funds through secret foreign accounts. It requires U.S. banks to keep records of transactions of more than $10,000 and to report suspicious activities that might be linked to money laundering, tax evasion or other crimes.

— With assistance by David McLaughlin

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