More fallout surrounding the 1MDB banking scandal came Tuesday as the Federal Reserve banned former Goldman Sachs banker Andrea Vella from the banking industry for his alleged involvement in scam that swindled billions of dollars.
In a tweet announcing the news, the Fed said he was banned “for his role in Goldman’s financing of a defrauded Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.”
@federalreserve announces it is permanently barring Andrea Vella, a senior executive at Goldman Sachs, from the banking industry for his role in Goldman’s financing of a defrauded Malaysian sovereign wealth fund: https://t.co/hPK8fcSCjt
— Federal Reserve (@federalreserve) February 4, 2020
Vella was placed on leave by Goldman Sachs in 2018 after not telling anyone at the bank that 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) bond offerings handled by Goldman in 2012 and 2013 were potentially used for illicit activities. Per the Fed’s statement on the ban:
Goldman arranged bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 for 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Malaysia’s state-owned development and investment company. The consent order states that Vella failed to escalate Low Taek Jho’s involvement in the bond offerings. Low was a person of known concern to Goldman, and his involvement indicated heightened potential underwriting risks.
The U.S. Department of Justice has criminally charged Low and two former Goldman employees, Tim Leissner and Roger Ng, for their involvement in the scandal. Leissner has pleaded guilty. Goldman is still trying to settle regulatory and Justice Department probes surrounding the conspiracy that allegedly involved billions of dollars siphoned from the Malaysian government.
Vella has agreed to comply with the Fed’s ruling and is slated to exit Goldman, someone familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
But Vella’s lawyer Andrew Levander of Dechert LLP in New York said he complied with the ban “in order to move on to the next stage of his career.”
“After years of exhaustive investigation, the Federal Reserve neither alleges that Mr. Vella knew anything about the bribes and kickbacks that have been alleged about others nor seeks to impose a fine — precisely because Mr. Vella in fact did not know about such conduct,” Levander said in a note.