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September 8, 2020

DOJ Must Consider Goldman Sachs’ Two-Decade-Long RAP Sheet of Repeated Illegal Conduct When Punishing the Unrepentant, Recidivist Bank for Enabling 1MDB’s Global Crime Spree

Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Contact: Pamela Russell at 202-618-6433 or
Washington, D.C.  –  Dennis M. Kelleher, President and Chief Executive Officer of Better Markets, issued the following statement in connection with the release of a Report on Goldman Sachs’ RAP sheet and the Department of Justice’s settlement discussions regarding the bank’s criminal conduct related to 1MDB’s crime spree:
“As detailed in the attached RAP sheet Report, Goldman Sachs has been subject to 37 major legal actions that have resulted in over $13.7 billion in fines and settlements in just the last 20 years. Those legal actions indicate that Goldman has committed dozens of illegal acts and preyed upon and ripped off countless Main Street Americans and many others. Moreover, the lengthy RAP sheet shows that Goldman’s alleged illegal behavior is not a one-off or an occasional outlier due to a rogue employee here or there but appears to be part of a pattern and practice of business that regularly puts profit maximization above following the law.
“While Goldman Sachs’ involvement in enabling the looting of the Malaysian 1MDB fund is particularly egregious—igniting a global crime spree and the corruption of democracy in that country as detailed in this Report—it is only one example of the bank’s 20-year record of illegal and criminal activity as indicated in the RAP sheet. 
“As with any other recidivist, and an aggressively unrepentant one at that, the Department of Justice simply must consider Goldman’s RAP sheet when setting the terms of any settlement regarding the bank’s involvement with 1MDB. Given the facts, circumstances and consequences of Goldman’s five-year relationship with 1MDB, including the involvement of more than 30 Goldman executives (including two CEOs), the scope of 1MDB’s crime spree enabled by Goldman, and Goldman’s 20-year RAP sheet, DOJ must insist that any settlement include:
  1. a guilty plea to criminal charges by the bank holding company,
  2. a non-tax-deductible fine of more than $5 billion,
  3. the imposition of a truly independent monitor who is required to file public reports,
  4. limitations on the bank’s collateral activities,
  5. personal monetary penalties and industry bars on the materially involved executives and officers—not just the three fall guys already identified, and
  6. a full and complete public disclosure of the identity and conduct of all Goldman staff, partners and executives who were aware of or involved in any way with 1MDB.
“Anything less will send the message that ‘crime pays’ and that Goldman is above the law by de facto rewarding past criminal activity, which will incentivize future criminal activity. Given the high profile of the 1MDB case and how carefully it is being followed throughout the industry, that will be true not just at Goldman, but across all of Wall Street and the financial industry more broadly. As a result, DOJ’s credibility and the integrity of the rule of law are at stake in this case. All eyes are watching the DOJ to see if justice is in fact blind and if there is equal treatment under the law.”
The RAP sheet Report is available here and the separate Report on Goldman’s involvement with 1MDB is available here.
Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit  
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