Malaysia filed criminal charges on Friday against a top executive at Goldman Sachs, a former executive who now works for Alibaba of China and others, as it intensifies pressure on the Wall Street bank in a scandal involving the misuse of billions of dollars in government funds.
The charges escalate the legal challenges for Goldman, which has come under scrutiny for its role in a multibillion-dollar international fraud scandal that led to the ouster of Malaysia’s former prime minister, Najib Razak. Two of Goldman’s former bankers face charges in the United States of bribery and money-laundering related to its Malaysia business. Malaysia filed criminal charges against Goldman in December. Its finance minister has said the government would seek $7.5 billion in compensation from the bank.
On Friday, Malaysia’s attorney general charged Richard John Gnodde, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs International, and John Michael Evans, who left the bank in 2013 and later became president of Alibaba Group, under a law that holds senior executives responsible for any offenses that may have been committed during their tenure. Both had been directors of Goldman Sachs arms that did business in Malaysia. These cases bring the number of people charged in connection with the scandal to 17.
“We believe the charges announced today, along with those against three Goldman Sachs entities announced in December last year, are misdirected and will be vigorously defended,” Edward Naylor, a Goldman spokesman in Asia, said in an emailed statement.