December 2, 2020

(Reuters) – Goldman Sachs has failed to persuade former president Gary Cohn to return over $10 million he received in pay, as part of the bank’s effort to reclaim executive compensation over the 1MDB scandal, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

There is little that the bank can do if Cohn, the former economic adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, simply refuses or offers up a discounted sum, the report said, citing people with knowledge of the matter. []

Goldman Sachs declined to comment, while Cohn could not be reached for comment.

The Wall Street investment bank plead guilty to violating U.S. foreign bribery rules in October over its role in Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal in 2018.

The bank was investigated for its involvement in raising $6.5 billion through three bond sales between 2012 and 2013 for the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state fund.

Goldman in October reached a deal to settle the probe, agreeing to pay total penalties of $2.9 billion and saying that it was clawing back $174 million in executive compensation.

While Cohn was able to cash out his Goldman shares and other pay when he joined the Trump administration in 2017, others including former chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein still had stock in the company or remain senior executives.

Blankfein and current CEO David Solomon both said leaders need to take responsibility and face consequences for things that happen on their watch, in statements at the time Goldman announced the clawback plan.

(Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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