Former Goldman Sachs exec barred permanently over financing of defrauded Malaysian sovereign wealth fund

A former senior executive of Goldman Sachs, Andrea Vella, has been barred under a consent order from any future involvement in the banking industry for his role in the firm’s financing of a defrauded Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, the Federal Reserve Board announced Tuesday.

The order further provides that Vella will cooperate fully with and provide “substantial assistance” to the Fed Board in connection with the investigations “of whether enforcement action should be taken against Goldman or other individuals who are or were institution-affiliated parties of Goldman or otherwise.”

The Fed said that Goldman arranged bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 for 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Malaysia’s state-owned development and investment company. Vella, according to the consent order, failed to escalate Low Taek Jho’s involvement in the bond offerings. Low was a person of known concern to Goldman, and his involvement indicated heightened potential underwriting risks, the order states.

Low and two former Goldman employees, Tim Leissner and Roger Ng, have been criminally charged by the Department of Justice for participating in a scheme to divert proceeds of the bond offerings from 1MDB for their personal benefit and bribing certain government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi. In March 2019, the Fed Board permanently prohibited Leissner from banking and fined him $1.42 million for his role in the scheme to divert bond proceeds. Ng is currently prohibited from banking by the Fed Board. (See story.)

Vella had been employed by Goldman Sachs Services (B.V.I.) Limited since at least 2010 and on assignment to Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C., incorporated in Delaware and doing business in Hong Kong, the consent order shows. Vella held senior roles within Goldman, including co-head of the financing group and co-head of the investment banking division for the Asia Ex-Japan region.

RR: Two former Goldman Sachs execs banned permanently from banking for alleged scheme to divert billions (March 12, 2019)