Malaysian court delays Goldman case on 1MDB fund theft

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) –


The Malaysian case against Goldman Sachs on charges the US investment bank stole huge sums from the country's 1MDB state fund was postponed Monday until September after defence lawyers argued there was a problem with paperwork.

Malaysia filed criminal charges against three units and two ex-employees of the Wall Street titan in December, accusing them of misappropriating $2.7 billion and other crimes in relation to bond issues they arranged for 1MDB.

Allegations that huge sums were looted from the investment vehicle -- in a fraud that allegedly involved former Malaysian leader Najib Razak -- contributed to the last government's election defeat last year.

At a procedural hearing in Kuala Lumpur Monday, Goldman lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said the Hong Kong unit of the bank received its summons just last week, while the summons sent to the Singapore unit only included three out of four charges.

The third Goldman unit in the case is based in London.

He asked for three months to get further instructions from his clients, and the judge set September 30 for another procedural hearing.

Prosecutor Aaron Paul Chelliah told reporters that the prosecution believed all documents had been properly served.

"Their clients have some reservations on whether they were properly served," he said. "Our position is they have been served."

Goldman helped arranged bonds totalling $6.5 billion on three occasions for 1MDB, for which they earned fees said to be well above typical rates.

The bank and its former employees are accused of making false and misleading statements to misappropriate huge sums from the 2012 and 2013 bond issuances.

Goldman has vowed to fight the charges, saying the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to the bank.

The former bankers accused in the case are Tim Leissner and Ng Chong Hwa, and both have also been charged in the US over the scandal.

Leissner pleaded guilty in America, while Ng was extradited to the US from Malaysia in May and pleaded not guilty.