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Goldman Sachs is sorry. Really sorry. Really, really very sorry about the whole Malaysian money laundering, bribery and sovereign-wealth-fund-bilking scandal. Just tremendously sorry about not taking a close enough look at that Tim Leissner guy, or that other guy, or that other, sort of mysteriously rich guy. So, so incredibly sorry that David Solomon has actually said “I’m sorry” a number of times for something that, you know, really wasn’t his fault, if you think about it. Isn’t that enough? Because, honestly, Goldman’s not feeling $2 billion and a guilty plea sorry.

Lawyers for the bank have asked Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to review demands by some federal prosecutors that Goldman pay more than $2 billion in fines and plead guilty to a felony charge, according to three people briefed on the matter…. The request, which was made several weeks ago, is not unusual for a high-profile corporate investigation and often comes in the final stage of settlement talks. But it has been a point of pride for Goldman that it has never had to admit guilt in a federal investigation.

The bank probably should have pushed to get this wrapped up three years ago, back when its people were still running the Trump administration. But all hope for Goldman’s (officially) squeaky-clean record (at least in this country) is not lost.

Attorney General William P. Barr and Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski — both of whom previously worked at Kirkland & Ellis, one of the firms representing Goldman Sachs — obtained ethics waivers that allowed them to participate in the 1MDB investigation. (Mr. Rosen had been a lawyer at Kirkland, but he did not need an ethics waiver because he had left the law firm more than two years ago….)

The Trump administration and Mr. Barr have not made white-collar prosecutions a top priority. The prosecution of white-collar crime has never been so low since tracking began in 1986, according to Trac, a federal criminal justice database affiliated with Syracuse University.

Goldman Sachs Is Said to Try to Avoid Pleading Guilty in 1MDB Scandal [NYT]



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