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Report: Goldman to settle DOJ probe into Malaysia's 1MDB for over $2B

Goldman Sachs has agreed with the Department of Justice to pay over $2 billion for the bank's role in Malaysia's multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: The settlement, expected to be announced within days, would allow Goldman Sachs to avoid a criminal conviction in the U.S. over the bribery and money laundering scandal that saw three of its former bankers banned for life from the banking industry by the Federal Reserve Board.


  • Per the Financial Times, An Asian subsidiary of Goldman Sachs "has agreed to plead guilty" to U.S. charges "as part of a global regulatory settlement that includes more than $2bn in new penalties," expected to be announced this week.

Context: Per Axios' Felix Salmon, the bank facilitated the 1MDB fraud, earning almost $600 million in fees on three bond deals from the deeply corrupt Malaysian fund. Each time, as soon as Goldman provided the money to 1MDB, Jho Low, a former financier to ex-Prime Minister Rajib Najib, would steal it.

  • The bank has always denied wrongdoing and blamed its former rogue workers.

Of note: The bank agreed in July to a $3.9 billion settlement — including $2.5 billion in cash —  in exchange for charges being dropped over its role in raising funds for 1MDB Najib.

  • Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of all seven corruption charges against him over the 1MDB case.
  • The DOJ did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment and a spokesperson for Goldman said in an emailed statement Tuesday, "We're not at a point we can comment or help at the present time."

Go deeper: How Goldman Sachs facilitated the heist of the century

Apps are helping people of color stop deadly police encounters

Mobile phone apps are evolving in ways that can stop rather than simply document deadly police encounters with people of color — including notifying family and lawyers about potential violations in real time.

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TikTok gets more time (again)

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Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

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Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order

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The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.

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Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the COVID-19 vaccine approval process

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing two emergency use authorization requests for COVID-19 vaccines, with an outside advisory committee scheduled to meet next Thursday to review data from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with former FDA commissioner Rob Calif about the EUA process, the science and who should make the final call.

The U.S. economic recovery needs rocket fuel

Data: BLS. Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday's deeply disappointing jobs report should light a fire under Congress, which has dithered despite signs the economy is struggling to kick back into gear.

Driving the news: President-elect Biden said Friday afternoon in Wilmington that he supports another round of $1,200 checks.

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CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.

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Saudi Arabia and Qatar near deal to end standoff, sources say

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to a deal to end the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf following U.S.-mediated reconciliation talks this week, sources familiar with the talks tell me.

Why it matters: Restoring relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would bring a sense of stability back to the Gulf after a 3.5 year standoff. It could also notch a last-minute achievement for the Trump administration before Jan. 20.

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