WASHINGTON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. government is reviewing Goldman Sachs’ business relationship with Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund as part of a broader, wide-ranging investigation into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), an FBI spokeswoman told Reuters on Thursday.
U.S. law enforcement sources are “aware of Goldman’s possible involvement” in investments with the fund, the spokeswoman said. She added that the bureau has “yet to determine if the matter will become the focus of any investigation into the 1MDB scandal.”
A Goldman Sachs spokesman declined to comment when asked about the FBI’s review on Thursday.
The review into Goldman’s ties with the fund marks the latest development in a wide-ranging global investigation across three continents into possible corruption and money-laundering.
Investigators are probing whether Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak improperly received about $700 million from the debt-laden state fund into his own bank accounts.
Najib also acts as finance minister in Malaysia and chairs 1MDB’s advisory board.
Najib has denied any wrongdoing or taking any money for personal gain.
An FBI squad which specializes in “international kleptocracy” is leading the bureau’s inquiries, a source familiar with the matter said.
Earlier this summer, Reuters reported that Malaysian anti-corruption officials paid a visit to the local Goldman Sachs office as part of its review into 1MDB.
The bank has come under fire for the fees it charged for helping 1MDB raise funds through bond offerings. The fund has since racked up large debts that now total about 42 billion ringgit ($11.5 billion).
Goldman earned roughly $590 million in fees, commissions and expenses from underwriting the bonds, a person familiar with the situation previously told Reuters.
Goldman’s profit on the 1MDB bonds came from the private nature of the deals, and the risk the bank took in buying some of these bonds and then selling them to clients.
The FBI’s review into Goldman Sachs and its connections to 1MDB was first reported on Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal. (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Chris Reese)