Goldman Sachs criminal case over 1MDB formally ends

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Monday formally ended the U.S. government’s criminal case against Goldman Sachs related to the Wall Street bank’s work for the Malaysian fund 1MDB after it met its obligations and paid $2.9 billion in penalties.

Chief Judge Margo Brodie of the federal court in Brooklyn dismissed a bribery conspiracy charge against Goldman, after the bank successfully completed a three-year deferred prosecution agreement that expired in October.

Goldman did not oppose the dropping of the criminal charge.

The bank helped sell $6.5 billion of bonds for 1MDB, which former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak set up with the help of Malaysian financier Jho Low to promote economic development.

U.S. and Malaysian authorities have said $4.5 billion was siphoned away, with some diverted to offshore bank accounts and shell companies linked to Low, who is now a fugitive.

Goldman has said 1MDB officials and former Malaysian government officials lied to it about how bond sale proceeds would be used.

The bank collected about $600 million in fees, and its Malaysia unit pleaded guilty to a corruption charge.

Two former Goldman bankers were criminally charged in the matter.

Tim Leissner, who led Goldman’s Southeast Asia business, pleaded guilty and has yet to be sentenced.

Roger Ng, a former head of investment banking in Malaysia, was convicted in Brooklyn and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but transported to Malaysia last October to assist probes there.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy)