Ex-Gold­man banker Ng fights US ex­tra­di­tion over 1MDB

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - Foreign News -

KUALA LUMPUR: A for­mer Gold­man Sachs Group Inc banker is fight­ing ex­tra­di­tion to the US, where he would face charges of money laun­der­ing and bribery re­lated to scan­dal-plagued Malaysian state in­vest­ment com­pany 1MDB, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter.

Roger Ng was ar­rested last week in Malaysia at the re­quest of Amer­i­can au­thor­i­ties.

He’s fil­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion to re­view the US de­ten­tion and ex­tra­di­tion or­der, said the peo­ple, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied as the de­lib­er­a­tions are pri­vate.

Sep­a­rately, Ng and his fam­ily have agreed to sur­ren­der about S$40mil to au­thor­i­ties in neigh­bour­ing Sin­ga­pore, which would then repa­tri­ate the funds to Malaysia, the peo­ple said.

Gold­man has been un­der scru­tiny for years over its role in rais­ing US$6.5bil for 1Malaysia De­vel­op­ment Bhd – and for the mas­sive fees it earned from three bond deals.

1MDB is at the cen­tre of a global scan­dal in­volv­ing claims of em­bez­zle­ment and money laun­der­ing, which have trig­gered in­ves­ti­ga­tions in the US, Sin­ga­pore, Switzer­land and be­yond and helped drive Malaysia’s for­mer leader from power.

Ng is one of at least three cur­rent and for­mer Gold­man bankers im­pli­cated by the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice as hav­ing taken part in or hav­ing knowl­edge of what the DoJ calls a multi-year crim­i­nal en­ter­prise.

He was a deputy to Tim Leiss­ner, Gold­man’s for­mer chair­man of South­east Asia, who has con­fessed to bribery and money laun­der­ing re­lated to 1MDB.

Malaysia plans to ex­tra­dite Ng to the US, a lo­cal daily re­ported last week, cit­ing Amar Singh, com­mis­sioner at the po­lice’s com­mer­cial crimes depart­ment.

Ng couldn’t be reached for com­ment. Singh didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to calls, and Sin­ga­pore au­thor­i­ties couldn’t im­me­di­ately com­ment.

Leiss­ner ad­mit­ted in a plea that he bribed of­fi­cials to get the bond deals, and that he and oth­ers ar­ranged the fundrais­ing as debt of­fer­ings be­cause it would gen­er­ate higher fees for Gold­man.

Leiss­ner also ad­mit­ted that more than US$200mil in pro­ceeds from 1MDB bonds flowed into ac­counts con­trolled by him and a rel­a­tive.

Ng was Gold­man’s head of South-East Asia sales and trad­ing when he re­signed in April 2014, and was said to have played an im­por­tant role in fa­cil­i­tat­ing the US$1.75bil bond deal that Gold­man ar­ranged for 1MDB in May 2012, dubbed Project Mag­no­lia.

The S$40mil that Ng and his fam­ily are sur­ren­der­ing is in Sin­ga­pore, where au­thor­i­ties have frozen the money, the peo­ple said.

In Septem­ber, Sin­ga­pore or­dered mil­lions of dol­lars pil­fered from 1MDB to be re­turned to Malaysia, the first time the citys­tate has repa­tri­ated as­sets to its neigh­bor fol­low­ing the probe.

The funds in var­i­ous cur­ren­cies to­talled about S$15.3mil and were trans­ferred to a spe­cial 1MDB re­cov­ery bank ac­count in Kuala Lumpur.

Gold­man has pre­vi­ously said it be­lieved the money it was rais­ing for 1MDB would be used for de­vel­op­ment projects, and has sought to por­tray any wrong­do­ing as acts by rogue ex-em­ploy­ees.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer David Solomon said on Wed­nes­day in a Bloomberg Tele­vi­sion in­ter­view that he felt “hor­ri­ble” about the role for­mer em­ploy­ees played in the scan­dal sur­round­ing 1MDB, and that Gold­man is co­op­er­at­ing with au­thor­i­ties.

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