There is a long list of banking scandals in the last decade or so with a long list of banks choosing to play in each of the fiascos. Plenty of banks have joined multiple schemes.
The time I’ve allocated to watching the apparently unending disasters has been concentrated on the money laundering and interest rate / exchange rate / pricing manipulation messes, along with the unending variations of cheat-your-customer plans at Wells Fargo.
Until now I’ve not been focused on the bribery disaster involving 1MDB’s shenanigans in Malaysia. If you’ve not tuned in, you can categorize this mess in the international corruption and bribery sector of bank fiascos.
Goldman Sachs was apparently full-in with the bribes and corruption. Wall Street Journal on 10/22/20 summarizes the mess: Goldman Pays Billions – And Takes Millions From Top Execs – To End 1MDB Scandal.
On 10/23/20 Goldman settled up with the U.S. and several other national governments. The bank agreed to clawback $174M from several executives.
They also admitted breaking U.S. corruption laws, specifically with a plea of guilty to charges of conspiring to violate antibribery laws. To keep the parent company in business it was actually a subsidiary of Goldman who entered a guilty plea. Only two executives have been hit with criminal charges.
The feds say billions were stolen from 1MDB and bribes aggregating $1.6B were paid to various government officials around the world.
Financial penalties paid by Goldman:
- $2.9B – US Department of Justice and other regulators around the world
- $2.5B – government of Malaysia
- $0.154B – Federal Reserve Bank
- $5.545B – total of above
From browsing headlines it looks like there are a few other fines but those are in the mere $50M or so range. Chump change for the big banks.
So, five and a half billion dollars of stockholder money burned by bribery and corruption. The irritated populists will loudly remind us that only two executives, merely two, have drawn criminal charges in the U.S.