Malaysia sends ex-Goldman banker to U.S. for 10 months to face 1MDB charges

FILE PHOTO: Men walk past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the fund's flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur
FILE PHOTO: Men walk past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the fund’s flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2015. REUTERS/Olivia Harris/File Photo

May 6, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia has extradited a former Goldman Sachs banker to the United States for 10 months to face criminal charges linked to a multibillion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, its attorney general said on Monday.

Malaysian Roger Ng has been detained in Kuala Lumpur since Nov. 1, after the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) announced charges against him for allegedly laundering funds diverted from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund.

He left Goldman Sachs in 2014.

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

Following negotiations, the two countries have now agreed for Ng to be temporarily surrendered to the United States for ten months and for the U.S. case against him to proceed first,

Malaysia’s attorney general, Tommy Thomas, said in a statement.

Ng was sent to the United States on May 3 and will be returned to Malaysia to face charges as soon as the U.S. proceedings are concluded.

“The period of temporary surrender may be extended upon mutual agreement by Malaysia and the U.S.,” Thomas added.

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

The DoJ has estimated that $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 United States for conspiring to launder 1MDB money and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a U.S. law targeting official bribery abroad.

Tim Leissner, another former Goldman Sachs official, and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho have also been charged in the United States over 1MDB funds. Leissner has pleaded guilty.

Malaysia has said it was seeking up to $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.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Darren Schuettler and Clarence Fernandez)

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