Prosecutors announced that Tim Leissner, former partner for Goldman Sachs in Asia, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and agreed to forfeit $43.7 million.
The third person, the financier popularly known as Jho Low, remains at large. The Associated Press quotes a spokesman for Low as saying, "Mr". Mr. Ng faces similar charges.
One former Goldman banker pleaded guilty, the department said.
The filing of criminal charges in the matter was a rare move against senior executives of a major USA bank in the decade since the financial crisis.
The charges could also have wider repercussions within the bank.
Low Taek Jho, commonly known as Jho Low, and the former bankers were accused by the US Justice Department of conspiring to launder billions of dollars from the fund and bribing officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi. At that point, according to a Reuters report, Mr. Vella and his co-head were replaced by another veteran Goldman banker.
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The fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, was set up in 2009 by then-Prime Minister Najib Razak to promote economic development.
Until recently, the investigation had mainly focused on allegations that Mr. The justice department's kleptocracy asset recovery initiative has already filed civil charges aimed at seizing assets allegedly bought with embezzled 1MDB funds, including a $39m mansion in the Los Angeles hills and a $30m penthouse in Manhattan overlooking Central Park.
The charges are the first arising from the epic corruption scandal that has roiled politics in Malaysia, leading to criminal charges against former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Some of those allegations were described in civil forfeiture complaints filed by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles a year ago. The U.S. says the money it is seeking to recover was gambled in Las Vegas, used to buy hotels, apartments, a luxury yacht, a jet, diamond jewelry and art works and to finance Hollywood films including the "Wolf of Wall Street" and "Dumb and Dumber To".
Goldman acted as the primary bond underwriter for the fund. The firm has said it was co-operating with the investigation.
Goldman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A lawyer for Mr. Leissner could not be reached for comment. Mr. Ng reported to Mr. Leissner at Goldman.
Mr Leissner, who served as Goldman's South East Asia chairman and a participating managing director, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and violate USA anti-bribery laws.