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Former Goldman Sachs boss jailed for multi-billion bribery and money laundering scandal

Goldman Sachs

A former Goldman Sachs managing director has been jailed for 10 years for his part in a massive bribery and money laundering scandal in Malaysia.

Roger Ng was sent to prison for his role in the multibillion dollar operation, which involved Malaysia’s state-owned investment and development fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division revealed the extent of the scheme in the south-east Asian country.

READ MORE: Malaysia’s PM looted national wealth fund

Speaking after sentencing on Thursday, March 10, he said: “Today, Roger Ng was sentenced for his role in a massive and egregious bribery and money laundering scheme involving the bribery of high-level foreign officials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates and theft of billions of dollars meant to benefit the Malaysian people.

“The Justice Department remains firmly committed to holding accountable individuals who engage in corruption, undermine the rule of law, and abuse our financial system to launder their illicit funds.  This sentence sends a strong message to criminals around the world:  if you violate our laws, we will bring you to justice.”

Court documents show Ng Chong Hwa, AKA Roger Ng, and his co-conspirators laundered billions of dollars misappropriated and fraudulently diverted from 1MDB, including funds 1MDB raised in 2012 and 2013 through three bond transactions it executed with Goldman Sachs.

One of the gang was Tim Leissner, who conspired with Ng to pay more than $1 billion in bribes to 12 government officials in Malaysia and the UAE to to obtain and retain lucrative business for Goldman Sachs, including the 2012 and 2013 bond deals.

The gang conspired to launger the proceeds of their crime through the U.S Financial System, using the money to pay for major Hollywood films like “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

They also bought a $51 million Jean-Michel Basquiat painting from New York-based Christie’s auction house, a $23 million diamond necklace from a New York jeweler, millions of dollars in Hermès handbags from a dealer based on Long Island, and luxury real estate in Manhattan.

“A brazen and audacious scheme”

U .S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York, said: “Roger Ng was a central player in a brazen and audacious scheme that not only victimized the people of Malaysia, but also undermined the public’s confidence in governments, markets, businesses and other institutions on a global scale,”

“Today’s sentence serves as a just punishment for the defendant’s crimes and a stern warning that there is a significant price to pay for corporate corruption.”

One of the gang was Low Taek Jho, aka Jho Low, a wealthy Malaysian socialite.

READ MORE: The longest sentences handed out for fraudsters in the US

They used his close relationships with high-ranking government officials in Malaysia and the UAE, to offer bribes.

They also circumvented the bank’s internal accounting controls.

Through its work for 1MDB during that time, Goldman Sachs received approximately $600 million in fees and revenue, while Ng received $35 million for his role in the bribery and money laundering scheme.

In total, Ng and his co-conspirators stole more than $2.7 billion from 1MDB.

Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division said: “This sentencing sends a strong message that those who abuse the U.S. financial system for their own gain will be held accountable.

“The FBI and our domestic and international partners remain committed to combating international corruption and will continue to investigate and pursue those who perpetrate complex criminal schemes for profit.”

  • In August 2018, Leissner pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and conspiring to violate the FCPA. Leissner agreed to forfeit $43 million and shares of stock valued at more than $200 million and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Low was indicted in November 2018 and remains a fugitive.

READ MORE: Sholam Weiss: The fraudster jailed for 845 years

In October 2020, Goldman Sachs and Goldman Sachs (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. (GS Malaysia), its Malaysian subsidiary, admitted to conspiring to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA in connection with the scheme.

Goldman Sachs entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS), and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

GS Malaysia pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

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Goldman Sachs paid more than $2.9 billion as part of a coordinated resolution with criminal and civil authorities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and elsewhere.

In April 2022, Ng was found guilty by a jury of conspiring to violate the FCPA and conspiring to launder billions of dollars.

The FBI’s International Corruption Unit and IRS-CI investigated the case.

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US adds 311,000 new jobs in February as unemployment rate stays low

A growth chart

Around 311,000 jobs were created in the US in February, as the unemployment rate remains close to a historic low.

While tech giants continue to shed their staff in massive cuts, the number of jobs remained strong.

The 311,000 recorded was not as high as the 504,000 new jobs added in January, but far exceeded the 220,000 predicted by experts, according to The Guardian.

READ MORE: Hiring and firing: Meta, Dell, and Disney axed thousands of jobs in February

There were notable gains in the areas of leisure and hospitality, retail, government and healthcare.

105,000 new positions were created in leisure and hospitality and employment in retail went up by 50,000.

Government jobs rose by 46,000.

The number of jobs in transport and warehousing dropped.

The unemployment rate remains near to a historic low, but has slightly risen to 3.6 percent.

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The number of people out of work also rose to 5.9 million.

Pay also rose, with the average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by eight cents, or 0.2 percent, to $33.09.

Average hourly earnings for private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 13 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $28.42.

Speaking to CNBC, Michelle Meyer, chief U.S. economist at the Mastercard Economics Institute, said: “It was a phenomenal report.

“This brings into question how we’re able to see that level of job growth despite some of the other rumblings in the economy. The reality is it shows there’s still a lot of pent-up demand for workers were companies have really struggled to staff appropriately.”

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Elon Musk plans to create ‘Texas utopia’ for his employees


Elon Musk is on a mission to create a new town for SpaceX and The Boring Company staff in Texas.

The Wall Street Journal reports the billionaire has bought nearly 3,500 acres of land about 35 miles outside of Austin, Texas, over the last few years.

The town will be called “Snailbrook,” a reference to The Boring Company’s mascot, and will be a place where employees could live and work.

Read More: FTC looking to oust Elon Musk from Twitter, sources say

Musk and his employees say the vision for the city is a “sort of Texas utopia along the Colorado River.”

While Musk has looked after purchases, Kanye West and the billionaire’s ex-girlfriend, the singer Grimes, proposed the idea last year.

The location is near the SpaceX and The Boring Company facilities

Musk’s plan is called “Project Amazing” and proposes 110 additional homes.

Read More: Elon Musk apologizes after mocking disabled Twitter employee

As part of the development, the town will have a swimming pool, a playground, a gym, and a small school.

The plans also include a private compound for Musk that would likely be built outside of the town.

Snailbrook could be part of his efforts to offer affordable housing for his staffers, as Musk reportedly intends to provide the homes at a lower price.

An ad sent to employees shows how Boring employees could apply for a home with rents starting at around $800 per month for a two- or three-bedroom.

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In the past, the Tesla boss has shown concern about affordable housing.

He made an “urgent” plea for more housing in Austin, Texas, in 2021, as SpaceX and Tesla sought to fill hundreds of positions in the area.

He had said at the time that he planned to establish a new city called Starbase at SpaceX’s launch facilities in Texas.

But, while SpaceX staff have taken over most of Boca Chica, Texas, Musk still needs to build the city entirely.

Musk also did not respond to a request for comments.

Source: Insider

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Tesco faces supplier backlash over fulfilment fee to cover online costs


A plan from Tesco to introduce fulfillment fees for online and Booker wholesale operations have not gone down well with its suppliers.

According to The Grocer, the supermarket giant has written to its suppliers to explain the new charges, which go into effect on March 13.

They are being implemented to help cover the cost of serving customers online as its digital operations grow and become more complex.

Suppliers who do not comply with the new fees may face range reviews or price reductions, according to the retailer.

Read More: Tesco workers to get third pay rise in 10 months

While the fees have not been disclosed in detail, they are believed to be “significant,” with the supermarket’s “smallest suppliers” exempt from the charges.

The fulfilment fee for Tesco UK suppliers will be charged per unit on all products sold through or the app.

Suppliers for Booker and those for the Republic of Ireland will be contacted separately.

Read More: Tesco boss criticises ‘inflexibility’ of government’s “Apprenticeship Levy” fund

Suppliers were told in a letter seen by The Grocer from Tesco’s chief product officer Ashwin Prasad that the group needs to charge the fee to share a fairer burden of the costs for online fulfilment.

It said: “Tesco shoulders the majority of fulfilment costs – whether it’s serving more than one million online orders a week in the UK or getting essential products to thousands of independent retailers and catering customers. We need to achieve a more balanced approach.”

The letter goes on to caution suppliers that failure to comply will result in a number of potential sanctions.

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“This fee is essential as we work to fulfil more orders for our customers across the group and we are asking suppliers to engage on this request and to support us.

“Without introducing a supplier contribution, we would need to take additional decisions on range optimisation, differentiated price and trade plans. It is important you work with us on the fulfilment fee as we both look to benefit from the investment into serving customers.”

Source:   Retail Gazette

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Amazon could face numerous lawsuits over alleged competition law breaches


A group has been formed to bring a number of lawsuits against Amazon suppliers, who allege violations of competition law and the Groceries Supply Code of Practices.

According to The Grocer, a group of high-profile lawyers has formed The Responsible Online Commerce Coalition (ROCC).

The group is is gathering evidence for claims including sellers not having equal access to the platform, the freedom to set prices and offer discounts, and no dispute resolution processes.

The ROCC said it hopes to gain support from small and large businesses among the marketplace’s 250,000 sellers.

Read More: Amazon UK warehouse closures put 1,200 jobs at risk

ROCC lawyer and Geradin Partners partner Tom Smith told the publication the Groceries Supply Code of Practice is “part of its arsenal” against Amazon.

Amazon has recently changed its practises, including a January commitment to provide “reasonable written notice” when products are red-flagged by its system.

However, it continues to investigate complaints from suppliers, who claim it is permitted to operate in ways that traditional retailers are not.

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ROCC’s move is timed to capitalise on new UK legislation that goes into effect in April via a new Digital Markets Unit within the Competitions Market Authority.

The new legislation will lay out new rules for competition and fairness in online markets, with Amazon expected to be scrutinised more closely.

Source:   Retail Gazette

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Manufacturers Bromford Industries and Accrofab call in administrators

Bromford Industries

Bromford Industries and its subsidiary Accrofab have called in administrators .

The companies, which are suppliers to the aerospace, defence, and power generation industries, called in Interpath Advisory as administrators on Thursday, March 9.

There is no immediate threat to the two firms’ 309 staff.

The firms, which have locations in Leicester, Derby, and Alcester, specialise in the precision manufacturing and fabrication of components and engine parts.

Read More: Metnor Construction loses all 80 staff after collapsing into administration

Both businesses, according to joint administrators Ryan Grant and Chris Pole, have faced a number of challenges in recent times.

This includes rising raw material and energy costs, supply chain disruption, and the wider impact of the pandemic on demand.

In a statement, Interpath said: “While the facilities at Derby and Alcester were continuing to trade well, operational issues at the Leicester facility further exacerbated the liquidity challenges faced by the companies.

Read More: Tile Giant undergoes pre-pack administration with 13 stores closed and 43 jobs lost

“In recent weeks, attempts have been made to seek urgent additional financial support from customers in order for production to continue.

“After a series of productive discussions, the directors of the businesses have taken steps to protect the interests of creditors by seeking the appointment of joint administrators.

“This will allow the companies to continue to trade while the administrators seek buyers for the businesses and their assets.

Read More: 300 jobs lost after Tolent collapses into administration

“All members of staff will be retained by the administrators to enable trade to continue.”

The administrators stated that Bromford Group’s US operations and businesses, including AeroCision and Numet, are continuing to operate normally and outside of the administration process.

Ryan Grant, managing director at Interpath Advisory and joint administrator, said: “Over the past 50 years, Bromford Industries has forged an excellent reputation as a tier-one supplier of fabricated and machined components to the aerospace, defence and power generation sectors.

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“We have been pleased with the positive conversations and financial support provided by customers in recent days, which has ultimately provided the businesses with a crucial lifeline.

“We’d also like to extend thanks to the companies’ employees for their support and understanding while this process has been underway.

“Our priority is now to seek buyers for the businesses and assets, and would urge any interested parties to contact us as soon as possible.”

Source: Business Live

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Typhoo Tea to close Merseyside factory with up to 90 job losses

Typhoo Tea

Typhoo Tea will close its “ageing” blending and packing factory, which means 90 job cuts.

The company said it is “actively exploring” options for a new site and re-employment, but added it will take at least a year to find a suitable location after the site in Moreton closes.

Executive chairman Mike Brehme said: “Unfortunately the spiralling cost of energy and materials, alongside low levels of productivity achievable at the Moreton factory, make it necessary to close the loss-making site.

Read More: Walmart stores closure in Oregon will result in 580 job losses

“We are actively exploring options for a new site, but it will be some time before a suitable location is identified, fitted out and ready.

“Sadly, we anticipate this resulting in approximately 90 job losses at Moreton.

“I would like to thank all colleagues who have contributed so much in recent, challenging times and we will do all that we can to assist everyone affected by this announcement.

Read More: Paperchase to close all 106 stores with about 900 job losses

“With the support of third-party packers, we have a robust plan in place to meet the demand for Typhoo products, ensuring supplies to customers continue uninterrupted.

“The regrettable but necessary changes allow Typhoo to realign its ambitions and refocus on the customer whilst ensuring the same high level of service and great quality tea you expect from one of the UK’s oldest and most recognised brands.

“2023 marks the milestone of 120 years of Typhoo Tea. These changes allow us to set the business up for the next generation of discerning tea drinkers.”

Read More: Meta adds millions to Mark Zuckerberg’s personal security amid thousands of job losses

The remaining staff will be relocated to a hub to oversee the day-to-day management of the restructured organisation.

Zetland Capital Partners purchased Typhoo Tea in July 2021.

According to BusinessLive, the company said in July 2022 that being taken over by a private equity firm will allow it to focus on its recovery with “new vigour” following an “extremely challenging” 18-month period.

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For the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021, the company’s revenue was £54.5m, while its pre-tax losses were £10.4m.

These figures contrast with the £53.1 million in revenue and £15.8 million in pre-tax losses reported for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020.

Glengettie, Ridgeways, Heath & Heather, London Fruit & Herb, Lift, Melroses, Freshbrew, and Red Mountain are among the other brands owned by the company.

SourceBusiness Live

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Zulily carries out second round of layoffs as revenue declines


Online retailer Zulily cut an undisclosed amount of corporate employees amid a revenue slump.

This is the second round of layoffs, following a round of cuts in May.

A company spokesperson confirmed the job cuts but did not reveal the number of roles removed.

Read More: Atlassian will make 500 job cuts to focus on key areas

Zulily said: “Yesterday, we announced to our team members some hard choices we have made for our organization to bring our operating expenses in line with our revenue and position our business for future growth.”

Laid-off workers will receive severance, a continuation of some benefits, and outplacement assistance.

Zulily’s headcount is now employs almost 2,000 people, with over 800 employees in the Seattle region.

It reported a 28 percent revenue drop to $254 million in the fourth quarter due to lower unit volume, decreased shipping rates, and lower site traffic.

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Its parent company, Qurate, has also reported a 13 percent year-over-year revenue decline in the fourth quarter.

Last week, Qurate announced a 12 percent job cut representing 400 employees, which did not hit Zulily.

Zulily shut down a fulfillment center in Pennsylvania, laying off 500 people last year.

Several e-commerce firms face sluggish growth after the online shopping upswing during the pandemic.

Qurate CEO David Rawlinson called 2022 a “challenging year for the company” and cited “macro pressure that impacted consumer demand.”

Source: GeekWire

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General Motors offers voluntary buyouts to US staff as cost-cutting continues

General Motors

General Motors is offering voluntary buyouts to the majority of its US staff in a drive to save money.

The move comes after 500 job losses as the automaker strives to save $2 billion in structural costs over the next two years.

US corporate employees with a minimum five years tenure as of June 30 are eligible for the “Voluntary Separation Program,” or VSP.

Read More: General Motors to cut around 500 staff to save $2 billion

The company will also give buyouts to executives in non-US countries who have been with the firm for at least two years.

GM projects a pretax charge of close to $1.5 billion as a result of the buyouts.

Most of the charges will likely be all-cash and occur during the first half of the year.

CEO Mary Barra said the initiative is “designed to accelerate attrition in the US,” which it is hoped will potentially avoid “involuntary actions” in the future. 

Read More: Amazon looks at new way to cut workforce through voluntary buyouts

The buyout offer comes after the Detroit carmaker said last week it would lay off about 500 salaried employees around the world.

The last time GM granted such a huge buyout program was 2018-2019 for around 18,000 North American white-collar employees.

GM said: “Employees are strongly encouraged to consider the program.

“By permanently bringing down structured costs, we can improve vehicle profitability and remain nimble in an increasingly competitive market.”

Read More: Google employees cuts staff promotions as a way of saving money

GM revealed the $2 billion cost-cutting plan in January, estimating that 30 to 50 percent of the savings will be realized by 2023.

At the time, executives stated they intended to reduce headcount through attrition instead of layoffs.

US employees who take the buyout will receive a month’s salary for every year of employment for up to 12 months, as well as COBRA health insurance.

They will also be granted prorated team performance bonuses and outplacement services. 

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Global staff will receive base salaries, incentives, COBRA, and outplacement services.

Eligible employees interested in the program must sign up by March 24. 

Those who choose a voluntary package and are approved will leave by June 30.

A company spokeswoman did not disclose the number of employees targeted for accepting the buyout packages. 

Source: CNBC

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