Global financial titan Goldman Sachs was fined US$350 million by Hong Kongâ€™s securities watchdog on Thursday for its role in the massive 1MDB Malaysian bribery scandal, the latest in a growing list of global punishments the firm faces.
Goldman Sachs Asia â€” the Hong Kong-based compliance and control hub of the company â€” showed â€œserious lapses and deficiencies in its management supervisory, risk, compliance and anti-money laundering controlsâ€�, Hong Kongâ€™s Securities and Futures Commission said.
The regulator added that Goldman had accepted the SFCâ€™s findings, leading to an early resolution of the disciplinary action.
The SFC said Goldmanâ€™s failures contributed to the misappropriation of US$2.6 billion from the US$6.5 billion that 1MDB raised in three bond offerings in 2012 and 2013.
â€œGoldman Sachs Asia fell far short of the standards expected of a licensed intermediary in the 1MDB case and suffered not only reputational damage from its own failures, but also brought the securities industry into disrepute,â€� Thomas Atkinson, the SFCâ€™s Executive Director of Enforcement, said.
Goldman Sachs Asia received US$210 million â€” or 37 percent of the total revenue â€” from the 1MDB bond offerings, which was the largest share among the various Goldman Sachs entities.
The SFC investigation concluded that Goldman Sachs Asia allowed the offerings to proceed despite numerous red flags not being properly scrutinised and answered.
It was used to buy everything from artwork to real estate to a superyacht.
The deal would end the criminal probe into the corruption case involving the Malaysian governmentâ€™s investment fund, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The Justice Department has said more than $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB by high-level officials at the fund and their associates between 2009 and 2015.
Two ex-Goldman bankers are accused of misappropriating billions, bribing officials and giving false statements in relation to bond issues they arranged for the fund.
The Malaysian government dropped the charges against Goldman in July after reaching a $3.9 billion settlement with the financial giant.
The firm, which posted profits of $3.5 billion in the latest quarter, had set aside more than $3.1 billion as of September 30 â€œfor litigation and regulatory proceedings.â€�
Â© Agence France-Presse