Banking and Finance Law Daily Fed bars former Goldman Sachs executive from industry for failing to escalate risk
Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Fed bars former Goldman Sachs executive from industry for failing to escalate risk

By Lisa M. Goolik, J.D.

The Fed barred the former senior executive in connection with a money laundering and bribery scheme that defrauded the Malaysian government.

The Federal Reserve Board has permanently barred Andrea Vella, a former senior executive at Goldman Sachs, from the banking industry for failing to escalate to Goldman’s leadership the involvement of Low Taek Jho, a Malaysian financier of known concern to Goldman, in a bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 for 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Malaysia's state-owned development and investment company. Those offerings, the Fed has alleged, were part of a conspiracy to launder billions of dollars embezzled from Malaysia’s fund.

In November 2018, Low and two other former Goldman employees, Tim Leissner and Roger Ng, were criminally charged by the Department of Justice for participating in a scheme to divert proceeds of three bond offerings from 1MDB for their personal benefit and bribing certain government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.

According to the Fed’s consent order, Vella, a senior executive of the firm, had responsibility for executing complex financing transactions arranged by the firm, including the three bond offerings at the center of the scheme. As a result, the Fed charged, Vella engaged in unsafe and unsound practices by failing to ensure that Low’s involvement in the 1MDB offerings, which indicated heightened potential underwriting risks, was fully escalated within the firm.

Without admitting or denying any of the allegations, Vella agreed to be barred from participating in the activities of any banking institution without the Fed’s prior written approval.

Companies: 1Malaysia Development Berhad; Goldman Sachs

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