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Justice Department Charges Ex-Goldman Bankers in Malaysia 1MDB Scandal

Two senior

Goldman Sachs


GS 0.71%

bankers paid bribes and stole and laundered money from a Malaysian sovereign-wealth fund, U.S. prosecutors allege, putting the bank at the center of one of the biggest financial frauds in history.

Former Goldman partner Timothy Leissner, then its head of Southeast Asia, pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and violate foreign antibribery laws for helping siphon off billions of dollars from the fund, known as 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MDB, according to filings unsealed Thursday.

Former Goldman managing director Roger Ng, and the alleged mastermind of the fraud, Malaysian financier Jho Low, were indicted on three counts of conspiring to violate foreign antibribery laws and launder money.

For Goldman, the charges—as well as a continuing investigation into the bank’s own conduct—come at an inflection point. Executives have spent years shining up a reputation sullied by the…

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