Tue, May 07, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Malaysia extradites ex-Goldman banker to US, report says

Reuters, KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysia has extradited a former Goldman Sachs banker to the US to face criminal charges linked to a multibillion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, the Edge financial daily reported yesterday, citing an unidentified source.

Malaysian Roger Ng (吳崇華) has been detained in Kuala Lumpur since Nov. 1 last year, shortly after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced charges against him for allegedly laundering funds diverted from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund.

He left Goldman Sachs Group Inc in 2014.

Ng had agreed to be sent to the US, but the proceedings were delayed after Malaysia’s home minister said he should first face criminal charges in the Southeast Asian nation.

However, Malaysian and US authorities last week agreed to extradite Ng to the US, the Edge reported.

“I can confirm that he left last Friday and is now in the US under the watch of the DOJ,” the daily quoted the source as saying.

The attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Ng’s lawyer was unavailable for comment.

A prosecutor working on Ng’s case, who asked not to be identified as he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the attorney general would release a statement on Ng’s status soon.

Goldman Sachs is under scrutiny for its role as underwriter and arranger of three bond sales that raised US$6.5 billion for 1MDB.

The DOJ has estimated that a total of US$4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level 1MDB fund officials and their associates between 2009 and 2014, including some of the funds that Goldman Sachs helped to raise.

Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing and said certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to it about how the bond proceeds would be used.

Ng was charged in Kuala Lumpur with four counts of abetting the bank to provide misleading statements in the offering prospectus for 1MDB bond sales.

He was also charged in the US for conspiring to launder 1MDB money and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a US law targeting official bribery abroad.

Tim Leissner, another former Goldman Sachs official, and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho (劉特佐) have also been charged in the US over 1MDB funds.

Leissner has pleaded guilty.

Malaysia has said it was seeking up to US$7.5 billion in reparations from Goldman over its dealings with 1MDB, set up in 2009 by then-prime minister Najib Razak.

Najib, who lost a general election last year, is facing 42 criminal charges related to losses at 1MDB and other state entities. ‘

He has pleaded not guilty.

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