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Former Goldman CEO Blankfein said to have attended 2009 1MDB meeting

NEW YORK: Former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (pic) is the senior executive mentioned in US court papers as having met a man at the centre of the 1MDB corruption scandal in Malaysia, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

The US Justice Department charged three people in the case last week, two of them former Goldman bankers, and said a ‘high-ranking executive’ of the bank was present at a 2009 meeting in New York with Low Taek Jho — an alleged mastermind and an intermediary to the Malaysian fund.

The executive who met Low is Blankfein, the Times said, quoting two people familiar with the situation.
A Goldman Sachs spokesman declined an AFP request for comment. Blankfein stepped down as CEO last month after 12 years.

Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, is charged in the US with arranging with two former Goldman bankers — Tim Leissner and Ng Chong Hwa — to launder billions of dollars allegedly skimmed from 1MDB. Low remains at large.

The fund was created by then Prime Minister Najib Razak shortly after he took power.
Leissner and Ng are charged with conspiring to launder billions of dollars from 1MDB, a sovereign wealth fund set up for development of the country, and conspiring to bribe officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.

The Times said Blankfein was unaware Low would attend the 2009 meeting mentioned by US authorities and held at the hotel where Razak was staying.

David Solomon, who took over Goldman Sachs after Blankfein retired in September, said Wednesday he was alarmed by the charges of corruption against the two former Goldman bankers. -AFP

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