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Gary Cohn giving to charity to resolve Goldman 1MDB impasse

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    Agence France-Presse

New York, United States   /   Fri, December 11, 2020   /   01:45 pm
 Gary Cohn giving to charity to resolve Goldman 1MDB impasse In this file photo taken on April 26, 2017 Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn (L) waits to speak in the Brady Briefing Room on US President Donald Trump's tax reform plans in Washington, DC. Donald Trump's White House was rocked by another high-profile resignation March 6, 2018, as top economic advisor Gary Cohn quit in protest at the president's decision to levy global steel tariffs. (Agence France -Presse/Brendan Smialowski)

Former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn will donate to charity rather than return past earnings that the company sought to reclaim after the 1MDB Malaysian bribery scandal, Goldman said Thursday.

The investment bank in October announced a plan to claw back compensation from former and current bank executives following a $2.9 billion criminal settlement with the Justice Department over the massive international scandal.

The bank said it was seeking some $174 million from a group of current and former bank leaders because of their role in "institutional failure" at Goldman, even though the executives were not involved in "any illicit activity," the bank said in October.

But Cohn, who served as a White House economic advisor in the first two years of the Trump administration after leaving Goldman, resisted returning the funds. 

When Cohn moved into government, his deferred compensation was cashed out, severing him completely from Goldman.

Bloomberg News reported Thursday that Goldman had sought more than $10 million in back compensation from Cohn, but it was not clear if he planned to donate that entire sum. The report said he was giving money to charities that work in pandemic relief and social justice.

A Cohn spokeswoman confirmed the move, saying "Mr Cohn is a team player, and as a good corporate citizen, he volunteered many weeks ago to make a significant charitable contribution to Goldman Sachs-sponsored organizations and looks forward to doing so."

Goldman applauded the move.

"We are pleased that Gary has chosen to support charitable organizations that are doing important work and put this matter behind us," a Goldman spokeswoman said.