U.S. prosecutors target Goldman Sachs in 1MDB probe - NYT

A sign is displayed in the reception of Goldman Sachs in Sydney, Australia, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

(Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors are investigating whether Goldman Sachs Group Inc has any culpability in a Malaysian fraud involving a government fund that had ties to a former bank employee, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is at the centre of money-laundering investigations in at least six countries, including the United States, Switzerland and Singapore.

An estimated $4.5 billion (£3.47 billion) was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates, the U.S. Justice Department has alleged.

The investigation into how $4 billion disappeared from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, has involved U.S. attorneys’ offices in Los Angeles and New York, but the U.S. Department of Justice gave control to federal prosecutors in Brooklyn who are “intensively focused” on Goldman’s role, the Times reported, citing people familiar with the probes.

Goldman, which generated about $600 million in fees for its work with 1MDB, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said it is fully cooperating with authorities.

Spokesman Michael DuVally directed Reuters on Tuesday to the bank’s disclosures about 1MDB probes in a quarterly filing which said the bank has received subpoenas and information requests from a number of government bodies and regulators.

Brooklyn prosecutors are also considering criminal charges against former Goldman investment banker Tim Leissner, who worked closely with 1MDB, the Times said.

Leissner’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman declined to comment.

Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru,; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar, Lauren Tara LaCapra and Clive McKeef