Prosecutors seek court change for Goldman Sachs’s 1MDB trial

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, arrives for his hearing in Kuala Lumpur. Najib is facing 42 charges of corruption, abuse of power and money laundering linked to the multibillion-dollar looting of 1MDB. (AP)
Updated 22 October 2019

Prosecutors seek court change for Goldman Sachs’s 1MDB trial

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian prosecutors on Tuesday sought a court change for Goldman Sachs’s criminal trial over its role in the alleged multibillion-dollar ransacking of state investment fund 1MDB.

Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, a lawyer for Goldman, said that prosecutors informed the magistrate court now hearing the case that they had applied to transfer it to the high court. He said the lower court scheduled an update on the transfer to be heard Dec. 16.

Prosecutors did not give any reasons for the transfer but a move to a higher court usually reflects the seriousness of the case.

Malaysian and US prosecutors allege bond sales organized by Goldman Sachs for 1MDB provided one of the means for associates of former Malaysian leader Najib Razak to steal billions from a fund that was ostensibly set up to accelerate Malaysia’s economic development.

Three Goldman subsidiaries and two former executives were charged in December for alleged breaches of securities laws including making false, misleading statements to investors. Another 17 more current and former directors at Goldman were charged in August with allegedly conniving to commit the massive fraud.

FASTFACT

Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak set up 1MDB when he took office in 2009.

Hisyam declined to comment on the allegations. Goldman has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Najib set up 1MDB when he took office in 2009, but it accumulated billions in debts and US investigators allege at least $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund and laundered by Najib’s associates.

Public anger over the alleged corruption contributed to the election defeat of Najib’s long-ruling coalition in May 2018. Najib is now on trial for multiple charges of corruption over the 1MDB case and was in the same court building Tuesday for his second trial. Najib denies the charges. His wife and stepson also have been charged over the scandal.


Escalating China-US conflict risks ‘hot war,’ warns Kissinger

Updated 13 min 52 sec ago

Escalating China-US conflict risks ‘hot war,’ warns Kissinger

  • Former US hawk leads calls for restraint as trade dispute dominates opening day of Beijing New Economy Forum

BEIJING: The increasingly hostile stand-off between the US and China dominated the first day of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Beijing, with speaker after speaker returning to the possibility that tensions between the two countries could escalate out of control.

Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state and national security adviser, told the forum that the two countries were “in the foothills of a cold war,” and that the situation could be “cataclysmic” if allowed to deteriorate further.

“China and the US are bound to step on each others toes all round the world. If the conflict is allowed to run unconstrained, the outcome could be worse than the wars last century in Europe. The weapons are so much more powerful and sophisticated. The worst-case scenario would be a ‘hot’ war,” he said.

In addition to the greater destructive power of 21st-century weapons, Kissinger highlighted the degree of interdependence between the US and China in the global economy, which contrasted with the almost total isolation of the Soviet Union’s economy in the last “cold war.”

However, he added that the situation had not yet reached a stage of such escalation.

“History does not always repeat itself,” he said.

But he saw some worrying signs in the recent legislation of the US Congress over the continuing turmoil in Hong Kong. “Congress is an institution influenced by domestic considerations and does not understand all the nuances,” Kissinger added.

Earlier the forum had heard from Wang Qishan, China’s vice president, who gave a keynote address that failed to mention the US at all, but contained lots of code words that the Chinese use when they want to obliquely criticize the policies of the Trump administration.

Qishan noted the continued rise of “protectionism, unliateralism and populism,” and warned that “globalization is facing headwinds, and liberalism is under attack,” threatening the prosperity of the global village.

“Between war and peace, there is no doubt that we should chose peace, and this is China’s choice. We reject the zero-sum game of strategy and the cold war mentality,” he said.

The Chinese policy-maker’s line was picked up by Hank Paulson, former US treasury secretary. “It should concern every one of us who cares about the state of the global economy that the positive sum metaphors of healthy economic competition are given away to the zero sum metaphors of military competition,” he said.

“It’s sad to say that the pressures in Beijing and Washington have not lessened in the past year. In fact, they are increasing. If either country tries to force a comprehensive decoupling on third countries, these others simply will not follow. We would risk isolating ourselves, the US and China, from the rest of the world.

“Decoupling in flows of goods will likely continue because the very bad idea of tariffs has been re-legitimated after taking a wallop from the dismal failures of the 1930s,” Paulson added.

Michael Bloomberg, founder of the Bloomberg information and media giant, did not attend the forum. “He made a decision to serve his country,” Paulson said. The former Republican mayor of New York is running as a Democrat in the US
presidential race.