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July 24, 2020

Goldman Sachs’ 1MDB Settlement Today Leaves a Department of Justice Resolution, Which Must Include a Criminal Guilty Plea, $5+ Billion Fine, Independent Monitor: Malaysia Settlement Included Terms Better Markets Suggested

Friday, July 24, 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 response to reports that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. settled with Malaysia regarding its illegal conduct related to the looting of 1Malaysia Development Berhad or 1MDB:
“It is still too little and too late, but Goldman Sachs has settled with Malaysia for enabling and participating in the global crime spree related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Better Markets has said from the beginning that Goldman Sachs should prioritize settling with Malaysia, pay substantial amounts, help it recover the looted assets, and enable the country to move on to its economic priorities. It could have been and should have been more, but that’s what this settlement largely does, including, importantly, Goldman ‘covering the costs to appoint an asset recovery specialist to acquire assets sitting abroad.’
“Attention now turns to the all-important settlement Goldman is negotiating with the Department of Justice (DOJ), which should be unmistakably severe. This is warranted given Goldman Sachs’ recidivist history and its shocking 1MDB conduct here, including the involvement of more than 30 Goldman executives, including the CEO. Not only did Goldman’s reported 1MDB actions enable the looting of an entire country, but they undermined and corrupted the country’s democracy and involved the deaths of several people, including a prosecutor who was brutally murdered investigating the 1MDB crimes.
“Given that, any settlement with Goldman must include a guilty plea to criminal charges by the bank holding company, a fine of more than $5 billion, the imposition of a truly independent monitor, limitations on collateral activities, and personal monetary penalties and industry bars on the materially involved executives and officers—not just the three fall guys already identified.
“If the DOJ does less, it will once again show that Wall Street’s biggest, wealthiest, most politically connected banks are still too-big-to-jail, no matter how many crimes they commit, how many laws they break, how many victims there are, or how much damage they inflict. Given that the Attorney General and other senior DOJ officials making the decisions regarding 1MDB had to get waivers from conflicts of interest and that Goldman has hired a prominent former DOJ prosecutor to negotiate a deal for it, the Department must be particularly careful not to appear to be giving a connected Wall Street bank special favorable treatment. 
“All eyes are watching DOJ, which must end the practice of sweetheart settlements where Wall Street’s biggest banks buy get-out-of-jail free cards with shareholders’ money while executives pocket billions in bonuses from illegal and criminal conduct.”
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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