The Real Deal New York

Abu Dhabi fund sues Goldman Sachs over role in 1MDB scheme

Former partner Tim Leissner pleaded guilty to fraud
November 21, 2018 06:00PM

Khadem Al Qubaisi and Jho Low with the Park Lane Hotel at 36 Central Park South (Credit: Khadem Al Qubaisi and Getty Images)

An Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund sued Goldman Sachs over its involvement in the 1MDB fraud scandal.

The lawsuit by the International Petroleum Investment Company, filed Wednesday, claims the bank played a “central role” in the scheme, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Goldman Sachs underwrote $3.5 billion in bonds issued by 1MDB, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, that IPIC guaranteed. U.S. prosecutors later accused officials at both funds of using the bond issuance to siphon billions into their own pockets. “Goldman Sachs conspired with others to bribe IPIC’s and Aabar’s former executives,” the complaint reads.

The scheme’s alleged mastermind, Jho Low, bought a stake in Manhattan’s Park Lane Hotel, among other property purchases. Low, who is facing criminal charges in Malaysia but remains in hiding, recently rescinded his claims on the property.

Former Goldman Sachs partner Tim Leissner, who played a key role in the bond issuance, has pleaded guilty to money laundering and violating anti-bribery laws. Another former executive at the bank, Roger Ng, was arrested in Malaysia.

Apart from suing Goldman, IPIC also filed lawsuits against its former executive Khadem Al Qubaisi and its subsidiary Aabar Investments’ former CEO Mohamed Badawy Al Husseiny, alleging that they received bribes. [WSJ] — Konrad Putzier