To avert such a penalty over its work for a Malaysian sovereign fund, Goldman has appealed to the Justice Department’s highest ranks. Attorney General
Now, a deal may be near. Prosecutors were emboldened to press Goldman for a guilty plea after a high-ranking Goldman banker pleaded guilty in 2018 and
Goldman’s defense is led by
If Goldman escapes without a guilty plea, it will be a big victory for the bank. If not, Seymour may still be able to soften the blow by bartering over what details are included -- and not included -- in a statement of facts outlining Goldman’s conduct in Malaysia.
John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn, New York, that’s handling the case, declined to comment.
Seymour, 59, knows from her experience representing Goldman as an outside lawyer that an all-out battle could backfire. The bank tried that approach a decade ago after the Securities and Exchange Commission accused it of fraudulently marketing a mortgage investment known as Abacus that was secretly meant to fail.
Whereas banks typically respond to new investigations with deference and promises to cooperate, Goldman
At the time, Seymour was a partner at
In the 1MDB case, the bank is awaiting word from Justice Department leaders about whether they agree with their prosecutors in Brooklyn that any deal must include a
Once the Justice Department renders its decision about a guilty plea, a resolution could follow quickly, including a
The sprawling investigation into 1MDB, known formally as
In September of that year, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America Corp., the Federal Reserve allowed Goldman and Morgan Stanley to convert themselves into bank holding companies, giving them access to the Fed’s discount window and allaying concerns about their viability. The Abacus case grew out of the mortgage meltdown at the center of the crisis.
In Malaysia, Goldman helped the government raise $6.5 billion for the 1MDB fund, collecting an unusually high $600 million in fees from bond sales in 2012 and 2013, according to court filings in the case. Prosecutors allege that roughly $2.7 billion of that money was diverted to 1MDB officials and their associates.
Prosecutors have received help from
Seymour is probably best known for her work as a federal prosecutor in winning the 2004 conviction of
A Texas native, Seymour served as a federal prosecutor in Manhattan the 1990s before moving to Sullivan & Cromwell. She returned to the office, known as the Southern District of New York, in 2002 to serve as head of its criminal division under then-U.S. Attorney
Friends and former colleagues say Seymour’s biggest asset in her current role is her history negotiating with the government on behalf of global banks including Goldman and BNP Paribas SA.
“She is the picture of credibility and integrity,” said
With Seymour fully engaged in the 1MDB settlement negotiations, Goldman’s chief executive officer,
The bank is separately negotiating a settlement with Malaysian authorities, who recently said they would reject offers of as much as $3 billion in contrast to the previous administration that had
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