Malaysia's 1MDB criminal case against Goldman Sachs delayed to September

Goldman feels the heat in Asia as IPO engine slows
A sign is displayed in the reception of the Sydney offices of Goldman Sachs in Australia, May 18, 2016. Reuters

Malaysia's criminal case against U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs involving $6.5 billion 1MDB bonds will be postponed to September, a court ruled on Monday, after defense lawyers asked for more time to receive instructions from their clients abroad.

Malaysian prosecutors had previously issued summonses to three Goldman Sachs units in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore, requiring them to respond to criminal charges filed against them over bond issues that the bank had arranged for state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014, including some of the funds that Goldman Sachs helped raise.

Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing.

On Monday, a lawyer for the bank said Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC, based in Hong Kong, had only received its summons in the past week, while another summons issued to the bank's Singapore unit was incomplete, with just three out of four charges served.

"Under such circumstances, we ask for another date... so that we will have enough time to take instructions from our clients," lawyer Hisyam Teh told the court.

The court then fixed Sept 30 for case management.

Last December, Malaysian prosecutors had filed charges against the three Goldman Sachs units for misleading investors by making untrue statements and omitting key facts in relation to bond issues that the bank had arranged for 1MDB.

The bank says certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to it about how proceeds from the bond sales would be used.

Malaysia has said it was seeking up to $7.5 billion in reparations from Goldman over its dealings with 1MDB, set up in 2009 by then prime minister Najib Razak.

Najib, who lost a general election last year, is facing 42 criminal charges related to losses at 1MDB and other state entities. He has pleaded not guilty.