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What Happened to the Criminal Case against Goldman Sachs at Barr’s Justice Department?

Courtesy of Pam Martens

U.S. Attorney General William Barr

U.S. Attorney General William Barr

On December 6 of last year, four reporters at Bloomberg News signaled that the U.S. Department of Justice was close to a settlement of its criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs in the 1MDB matter. The reporters wrote as follows:

“The Justice Department and other federal agencies, in internal discussions held in recent weeks, have weighed seeking penalties between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, the people said. That’s less than what some analysts have signaled Goldman might have to pay. While a settlement could be announced as soon as next month, the terms could change before a deal is finalized…”

The terms, indeed, seem to have changed. It’s now more than 9 months since that article was published and there hasn’t been a peep out of the Justice Department about criminal charges against Goldman Sachs. According to the Bloomberg report, Barr has “directly immersed himself in the case.”

Both Barr and the Deputy Attorney General, Jeffrey Rosen, hail from Kirkland & Ellis, one of the primary law firms representing Goldman in the matter. Barr was “Of Counsel” to Kirkland while Rosen worked at the law firm for 29 years. (See Top Men at Justice Department with Final Say on Goldman Sachs Felony Charges Got Big Payouts from Kirkland & Ellis – Goldman’s Law Firm.)

1MDB is a sovereign wealth fund in Malaysia. Goldman raised over $6 billion in bond offerings for the fund. According to the Justice Department, $4.5 billion of that was “misappropriated” and used “to fund the co-conspirators’ lavish lifestyles, including purchases of artwork and jewelry, the acquisition of luxury real estate and luxury yachts, the payment of gambling expenses, and the hiring of musicians and celebrities to attend parties.” Bribes and kickbacks were also allegedly made. Goldman made more than $600 million in fees from the bond offerings.

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