Goldman Sachs could pay under $2bn to settle the US investigations for its role in in raising money for scandal-ridden Malaysian investment fund 1MDB, according to Bloomberg.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) and other federal agencies have weighed seeking penalties between $1.5bn and $2bn, which is less than what some analysts have signaled Goldman might have to pay. Analysts from Citi wrote earlier this year that the fines could reach as high as $9bn.
A settlement could be announced as early as next month, but the final details of the deal could change, Bloomberg reported.
Malaysia has charged Goldman and 17 current and former directors of its units for allegedly misleading investors over bond sales totaling $6.5 billion that the US bank helped raise for sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The fund was set up in 2009 with the help of Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, to promote economic development. 1MDB raised billions of dollars in bonds for use in investment projects and joint ventures between 2009 and 2013.
The DoJ said $4.5bn was diverted to offshore bank accounts and shell companies, many of which were linked to Low. Malaysian authorities say at least $4.3bn more has yet to be accounted for.
Low, 38, remains at large and is believed to be hiding in China, according to reports. Ex-Goldman Sach banker Tim Leissner has pleaded guilty in the case while Roger Ng, a second banker accused of helping to arrange the loans, is reportedly working on a plea deal with the DoJ while awaiting trial in Malaysia.
Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has vowed to bring back billions of dollars allegedly stolen from the state fund.