Article: Will Malaysia’s First MACC Corporate Liability Charge Set the Tone for Future Financial Crime Cases?

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Will Malaysia’s First MACC Corporate Liability Charge Set the Tone for Future Financial Crime Cases?

Jessica Seah, 24 March 2021

An offshore vessel services company became the first in Malaysia to be charged with a newly introduced provision under the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

The new provision imposes corporate liability on both public and private companies whose employees are involved in corruption.

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Article: U.S. Treasury labels Switzerland, Vietnam as currency manipulators

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U.S. Treasury labels Switzerland, Vietnam as currency manipulators

Reuters Staff, 16 December 2020

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury labeled Switzerland and Vietnam as currency manipulators on Wednesday and added three new names to a watch list of countries it suspects of taking measures to devalue their currencies against the dollar.

In what may be one of the final broadsides to international trading partners delivered by the departing administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, the Treasury said that through June 2020 both Switzerland and Vietnam had intervened in currency markets to prevent effective balance of payments adjustments.

Furthermore, in its semi-annual currency manipulation report, the Treasury said Vietnam had acted to gain “unfair competitive advantage in international trade as well.” Continue reading “Article: U.S. Treasury labels Switzerland, Vietnam as currency manipulators”

Article: Goldman Sachs Charged in Foreign Bribery Case and Agrees to Pay Over $2.9 Billion

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Goldman Sachs Charged in Foreign Bribery Case and Agrees to Pay Over $2.9 Billion

Justice News, 22 October 2020

The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (Goldman Sachs or the Company), a global financial institution headquartered in New York, New York, and Goldman Sachs (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. (GS Malaysia), its Malaysian subsidiary, have admitted to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with a scheme to pay over $1 billion in bribes to Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials to obtain lucrative business for Goldman Sachs, including its role in underwriting approximately $6.5 billion in three bond deals for 1Malaysia Development Bhd. (1MDB), for which the bank earned hundreds of millions in fees. Goldman Sachs will pay more than $2.9 billion as part of a coordinated resolution with criminal and civil authorities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and elsewhere.

Goldman Sachs entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the department in connection with a criminal information filed today in the Eastern District of New York charging the Company with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. GS Malaysia pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to a one-count criminal information charging it with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.

Previously, Tim Leissner, the former Southeast Asia Chairman and participating managing director of Goldman Sachs, pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and to violate the FCPA. Ng Chong Hwa, also known as “Roger Ng,” former managing director of Goldman and head of investment banking for GS Malaysia, has been charged with conspiring to launder money and to violate the FCPA. Ng was extradited from Malaysia to face these charges and is scheduled to stand trial in March 2021. The cases are assigned to U.S. District Judge Margo K. Brodie of the Eastern District of New York.

In addition to these criminal charges, the department has recovered, or assisted in the recovery of, in excess of $1 billion in assets for Malaysia associated with and traceable to the 1MDB money laundering and bribery scheme.

“Goldman Sachs today accepted responsibility for its role in a conspiracy to bribe high-ranking foreign officials to obtain lucrative underwriting and other business relating to 1MDB,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Today’s resolution, which requires Goldman Sachs to admit wrongdoing and pay nearly three billion dollars in penalties, fines, and disgorgement, holds the bank accountable for this criminal scheme and demonstrates the department’s continuing commitment to combatting corruption and protecting the U.S. financial system.”

“Over a period of five years, Goldman Sachs participated in a sweeping international corruption scheme, conspiring to avail itself of more than $1.6 billion in bribes to multiple high-level government officials across several countries so that the company could reap hundreds of millions of dollars in fees, all to the detriment of the people of Malaysia and the reputation of American financial institutions operating abroad,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Seth D. DuCharme of the Eastern District of New York. “Today’s resolution, which includes a criminal guilty plea by Goldman Sachs’ subsidiary in Malaysia, demonstrates that the department will hold accountable any institution that violates U.S. law anywhere in the world by unfairly tilting the scales through corrupt practices.”

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Article: Swiss franc climbs after US adds it to ‘manipulation’ watchlist

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Swiss franc climbs after US adds it to ‘manipulation’ watchlist

Sam Jones in Zurich and Eva Szalay in London , 15 January 2020

The Swiss franc nudged up to a near three-year high against the euro on Tuesday as markets anticipated the move would limit the Swiss National Bank’s appetite for aggressive action to try to hold down its currency in future.

“The report is a warning shot to the SNB,” said George Saravelos, global co-head of currency research at Deutsche Bank, adding that the franc is likely to push higher from here. It now trades around CHF1.08 against the euro.

The US called on Bern on Monday to “more forcefully support domestic economic activity” by spending money and reducing the country’s already low tax burden, in what was an unusual swipe at a sovereign nation’s financial affairs. “Despite borrowing costs for the Swiss government being among the lowest in the world, fiscal policy remains underutilised, even within the constraints of Switzerland’s existing fiscal rules,” the US Treasury said in its assessment.

The SNB said on Tuesday that its interventions were transparent, and “motivated purely by monetary policy . . . aimed at addressing the negative consequence for inflation and the economy through a highly valued franc.”

“They are not aimed at giving Switzerland advantages by undervaluing the Swiss franc,” it added.

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Article: Goldman Sachs ‘close to $2bn settlement’ over 1MDB scandal

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Goldman Sachs ‘close to $2bn settlement’ over 1MDB scandal

Kalyeena Makortoff, 19 December 2019

Goldman Sachs is close to reaching a settlement of nearly $2bn (£1.5bn) with the US Department of Justice over the 1MDB corruption scandal, according to a report.

The Wall Street bank is said to be formulating a deal under which its Asian subsidiary, rather than the parent company, would pay a multibillion-dollar fine and admit guilt for having allegedly turned a blind eye while $4.5bn was looted from its client, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB.

The deal would also involve oversight from an independent monitor that would help reform the bank’s compliance rules, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The settlement package would end the US justice department’s investigation into Goldman Sachs’ role as an underwriter and arranger of bond sales for the wealth fund, totalling $6.5bn.

About $4.5bn was allegedly looted from 1MDB in a fraud said to have involved the former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, the Malaysian financier Jho Low, and his associates. The funds were allegedly used to buy everything from yachts to artwork, and fund the production of Hollywood films including The Wolf of Wall Street.

Razak is facing criminal charges in Malaysia but has pleaded not guilty. Low is facing charges in both Malaysia and the US, and has also denied wrongdoing.

Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, said it was lied to about how the proceeds of the three bond sales it conducted on the fund’s behalf between 2012 and 2013 were used.

In November, the Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, confirmed he had rejected a separate offer from Goldman Sachs worth less than $2bn. “We are not satisfied with that amount so we are still talking to them … If they respond reasonably, we might not insist on getting that $7.5bn,” he told the FT.

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Article: Goldman Sachs hit with £5.2m fine for short selling

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Goldman Sachs hit with £5.2m fine for short selling

James Booth, 28 November 2018

South Korea’s financial regulator has hit Goldman Sachs with a 7.5bn won (£5.2m) fine for breaking rules on short-selling.

The fine is for short-selling without securing underlying assets, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) said in a statement. Continue reading “Article: Goldman Sachs hit with £5.2m fine for short selling”

Article: Currency wars and the emerging-market countries

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Currency wars and the emerging-market countries

Richard Portes, 04 November 2010

The headlines shout “currency wars”. The US believes China engages in “currency manipulation”. The authorities hesitate to declare this to the US Congress, and the Secretary of the Treasury says “competitive non-appreciation” instead. China accuses the US of excessively loose monetary policy, flooding the world with liquidity. There is some truth in both charges, but some exaggeration.

This is one of the key issues facing the G20. Exchange-rate pressures, global imbalances and rebalancing, spillovers and the desirability of policy coordination – these are at the centre of the economic interdependence between the developed and emerging market countries. All this is in the context of weak US and European recoveries from the Great Recession, the risk of deflation, and the likelihood of more quantitative easing (QE) by major central banks. Domestic issues and inability to get direct action on exchange rates has led the US to propose internationally agreed targets for current-account imbalances. The wheel goes round – these proposals bear some resemblance to those of Keynes at Bretton Woods, which the US then opposed.

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