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The daily business briefing: December 17, 2018

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Harold Maass
The Goldman Sachs logo on the New York Stock Exchange
Chris Hondros/Getty Images
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1.

Malaysia charges Goldman Sachs, ex-bankers in 1MDB scandal

Malaysia's attorney general, Tommy Thomas, said Monday that the country had filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two of its employees in connection with a scandal involving state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. Thomas said the charges concerned allegedly misleading statements Goldman made to investors about $2.7 billion in bond sales the bank arranged but knew would be misappropriated. Criminal charges were filed against former Goldman executives Tim Leissner and Roger Ng Chong Hwa, as well as former 1MDB employee Jasmine Loo Ai Swan and Low Taek Jho. Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal. [Reuters, Bloomberg]

2.

HQ Trivia, Vine co-founder Colin Kroll dies at 34

Colin Kroll, co-founder and CEO of Vine and HQ Trivia, was found dead Sunday in his New York City apartment. He was 34. Police officers found Kroll after his girlfriend called 911 and asked for a wellness check. The cause of death was not immediately determined. HQ Trivia, a trivia game app, was launched in 2017. Kroll became CEO of HQ Trivia's parent company, Intermedia Labs, earlier this year after his business partner Rus Yusupov was forced out, Recode reports. Recently, Kroll was accused by an HQ Trivia employee of "inappropriate and unprofessional behavior;" the matter was investigated and "yielded no concerns," the company told Recode. [Gizmodo, Recode]

3.

Dow futures point to slightly higher open after Friday's plunge

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures edged up early Monday, pointing to a slightly higher open following Friday's steep losses. U.S.-China trade tensions and disappointing Chinese economic data have fueled mounting fears of a global slowdown, dragging down stocks. All three major U.S. indexes dropped by around 2 percent on Friday, putting them all in correction territory for the first time since March 2016. Investors are starting the week bracing for the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting that starts Tuesday. Many economists are expecting the Fed to raise its benchmark interest rate by another quarter percent but signal the end of its steady raising of rates. [CNBC, Reuters]

4.

May says new Brexit referendum would 'break faith' with U.K. voters

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday moved to head off mounting calls for a second Brexit referendum by telling Parliament that doing so would "break faith" with British voters who approved pulling the country out of the European Union. "Another vote which would do irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics, because it would say to millions who trusted in democracy, that our democracy does not deliver," May tells lawmakers in prepared remarks. British lawmakers are deadlocked on May's deal with the EU on the terms of Britain's departure from the trading bloc, scheduled for March. She had to cancel a vote on the deal to avoid rejection, and has been seeking concessions from European leaders to save the deal, without success. [Reuters]

5.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse tops box office

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse led the weekend box office in North America, bringing in $35.4 million at 3,813 theaters in its debut, according to Comscore. The well-reviewed film, with its inventive animation, was expected to lead to a new franchise for Sony Pictures. It was produced by a team that included Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who previously were behind The Lego Movie. The Mule, starring Clint Eastwood as a cranky drug courier, came in at No. 2 with $17.2 million. It was the biggest opening as a star for Eastwood, who also directed the movie, since Space Cowboys in 2000. [The New York Times]