New York: Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s rough month is getting worse.
The investment bank’s shares hit the lowest in almost two years Monday, falling twice as much as any other major US lender. The drop came after Malaysia’s finance minister said the nation would seek a “full refund" over bond deals for its sovereign wealth fund that have landed Goldman Sachs in the midst of globe-spanning corruption probes.
“Plenty of negative headlines" are weighing on investors’ minds when it comes to the bank, KBW analyst Brian Kleinhanzl wrote in an email.
Last week, at least three senior Goldman bankers were implicated by the US Department of Justice in a multi-year criminal enterprise that included bribing officials in Malaysia and elsewhere and laundering hundreds of millions of dollars. The firm has said it’s cooperating with the investigations and may face “significant" fines.
Malaysian finance minister Lim Guan Eng on Monday said the country is seeking a refund of all the fees it paid to Goldman Sachs for arranging as much as $6.5 billion in debt in 2012 and 2013, as Goldman has “admitted culpability" after former banker Tim Leissner entered a guilty plea for his role in the scandal. Goldman Sachs hasn’t publicly admitted any wrongdoing. A spokesman for the bank declined to comment Monday on Lim’s remarks.
The firm’s shares declined as much as 7.5% on Monday, putting the stock on pace for its worst two-day performance in more than eight years. The shares fell 7.1% at 2:55pm to the lowest since November 2016. While 64 of the 67 companies in the S&P 500 Financials Index slipped amid a wider market decline, Morgan Stanley’s 3.1% drop was the closest to Goldman Sachs’s plunge.
Goldman Sachs has said it believed proceeds of the debt it underwrote were for development projects and that Leissner, its former Southeast Asia chairman, withheld information from the firm. Leissner has said Goldman’s culture of secrecy led him to conceal wrongdoing from the company’s compliance staff.
Chief executive officer David Solomon, who took over last month, said he’s found the allegations against the former employees “very distressing." His predecessor Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman’s current chairman, was asked earlier this month what the scandal meant for the bank’s reputation. He deadpanned: “Well, it’s not good."
Bloomberg’s Kriti Gupta contributed to this story.