Justice Department Must Consider Goldman Sachs Rap Sheet

The Justice Department is in active settlement discussions with Goldman Sachs regarding the bank’s conduct related to criminal activity at the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

Dennis Kelleher
Better Markets
Washington, D.C.

Better Markets, an activist group in the United States, says that in settling the case with Goldman Sachs, the Justice Department must take into account the bank’s history of recidivism.

“As detailed in our rap sheet report, Goldman Sachs has been subject to 37 major legal actions that have resulted in over $13.7 billion in fines and settlements in just the last 20 years,” said Dennis Kelleher, CEO of Better Markets. “Those legal actions indicate that Goldman has committed dozens of illegal acts and preyed upon and ripped off countless Main Street Americans and many others.”

“Its lengthy rap sheet shows that Goldman’s alleged illegal behavior is not a one-off or an occasional outlier due to a rogue employee here or there but appears to be part of a pattern and practice of business that regularly puts profit maximization above following the law.”

“While Goldman Sachs’ involvement in enabling the looting of the Malaysian 1MDB fund is particularly egregious – igniting a global crime spree and the corruption of democracy in that country as detailed in our report – it is only one example of the bank’s 20-year record of illegal and criminal activity.” 

“As with any other recidivist, and an aggressively unrepentant one at that, the Department of Justice simply must consider Goldman’s rap sheet when setting the terms of any settlement regarding the bank’s involvement with 1MDB.”

“Given the facts, circumstances and consequences of Goldman’s five-year relationship with 1MDB, including the involvement of more than 30 Goldman executives (including two CEOs), the scope of 1MDB’s crime spree enabled by Goldman, and Goldman’s 20-year rap sheet, the Department must insist that any settlement include a guilty plea to criminal charges by the bank holding company, a non-tax-deductible fine of more than $5 billion, the imposition of a truly independent monitor who is required to file public reports, limitations on the bank’s collateral activities, personal monetary penalties and industry bars on the materially involved executives and officers – not just the three fall guys already identified, and a full and complete public disclosure of the identity and conduct of all Goldman staff, partners and executives who were aware of or involved in any way with 1MDB.”

“Anything less will send the message that ‘crime pays’ and that Goldman is above the law by de facto rewarding past criminal activity, which will incentivize future criminal activity.”

“Given the high profile of the 1MDB case and how carefully it is being followed throughout the industry, that will be true not just at Goldman, but across all of Wall Street and the financial industry more broadly.”

“The Department’s credibility and the integrity of the rule of law are at stake in this case. All eyes are watching the Department to see if justice is in fact blind and if there is equal treatment under the law.”

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