Goldman Sachs pleads not guilty in Malaysia over 1MDB bond sales: state media

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Three units of Goldman Sachs <GS.N> pleaded not guilty to charges of misleading investors regarding $6.5 billion in bond sales that the U.S. investment bank helped raise for state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Bernama state news agency reported on Monday.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates $4.5 billion was misappropriated from Malaysia’s 1MDB between 2009 and 2014, including some of the funds that Goldman Sachs helped raise.

Malaysian prosecutors filed charges in December 2018 against the units, based in London, Hong Kong and Singapore, for misleading investors by making untrue statements and omitting key facts in relation to the 1MDB bond issues.

A representative for Goldman Sachs pleaded not guilty after the charges were read out at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Monday, Bernama reported.

The court set the trial for November, with hearings scheduled until April 2021, Bernama reported.

Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing, saying that certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to it about how proceeds from the bond sales would be used.

Malaysia has said it was seeking up to $7.5 billion in reparations from Goldman over its dealings with 1MDB, which was set up in 2009 by then prime minister Najib Razak.

Najib, who lost a general election in May 2018, is facing 42 criminal charges related to losses at 1MDB and other state entities. He has pleaded not guilty.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; editing by Jason Neely)