Malaysia filed criminal charges on Friday against 17 current and former executives of three Goldman Sachs subsidiaries, piling further pressure on the Wall Street titan over the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal.
They included Richard Gnodde, chief executive of Goldman Sachs International, and Michael Evans, former chief of Goldman's Asia operations who is now president of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Huge sums were looted from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad in a globe-spanning fraud, which allegedly involved ex-prime minister Najib Razak and his inner circle.
Goldman's role has been under scrutiny as it helped arrange bond issues worth $6.5 billion for 1MDB. Malaysia claims large amounts were misappropriated in the process, and is seeking hefty compensation from the bank.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad re-opened investigations into the 1MDB affair last year after defeating Najib at the polls, in large part due to public anger at the scandal, and pressure has been steadily mounting on the bank since.
Announcing the latest charges, Attorney General Tommy Thomas said: "Custodial sentences and criminal fines will be sought against the accused... given the severity of the scheme to defraud and fraudulent misappropriation of billions in bond proceeds."
Goldman said in a statement it believed the charges were "misdirected" and would be "vigorously defended".
"Certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to Goldman Sachs, outside counsel and others about the use of proceeds from these transactions," it said.
Thomas said the 17 accused were directors of the three Goldman subsidiaries in 2012 and 2013, when the fund raising took place. (AFP)