1MDB scandal: Malaysia seeks to extradite Roger Ng to US while Singapore’s central bank bans Tim Leissner
- Goldman helped 1MDB to issue US$6.5 billion of bonds but Kuala Lumpur accuses the bank and its former employees of misappropriating US$2.7 billion during the process
- Washington had requested the extradition of Ng – a Malaysian former managing director at the bank – after bringing three criminal charges against him, including corruption and money-laundering
Malaysia on Wednesday moved to extradite to the United States a former Goldman Sachs banker embroiled in the multibillion-dollar 1MDB scandal, even as he faces charges in the Southeast Asian country.
Huge sums of public money were allegedly stolen from Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund and used to buy everything from yachts to artwork, in a scheme that allegedly involved former premier Najib Razak and contributed to his government’s shock election defeat in May.
Goldman helped 1MDB to issue US$6.5 billion of bonds but Kuala Lumpur accuses the bank and its former employees of misappropriating US$2.7 billion during the process.
Washington had requested the extradition of Ng Chong Hwa – a Malaysian former managing director at the bank – in October after bringing three criminal charges against him, including corruption and money-laundering.
Deputy public prosecutor Shukor Abu Bakar said a legal application has been filed under the extradition treaty between the two countries.
Goldman has pledged to fight the charges, insisting it was misled by the former Malaysian government and 1MDB.
The alleged offences by Ng – commonly known as Roger Ng – are punishable by jail in the US. Ng will fight the extradition attempt, his lawyer Tan Hock Chuan said.
On Monday, Malaysia’s new government announced it was also filing criminal charges against Ng, his boss and Southeast Asia chairman Tim Leissner, and Goldman Sachs.
Leissner has pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money allegedly siphoned from 1MDB and paying bribes to Malaysian and Emirati officials. Consequently, Singapore’s central bank on Wednesday said it had issued a lifetime prohibition order against Leissner. The ban was an upgrade of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) 10-year prohibition order against Leissner issued last year.
The order, among other things, prevents him from performing any regulated activity under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA).
“After careful consideration of Mr Leissner’s admission to participation in the conspiracy, as well as US DOJ’s criminal actions against him, MAS has decided to vary the PO against him,” the MAS said.
Fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho – commonly known as Jho Low – the alleged mastermind of the fraud, was also charged by Malaysia this week with conspiring with Leissner and Ng. He maintains his innocence.
Additional reporting by Reuters