Published: Tue, May 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

AG: RM236.5mil returned so far to Malaysia in 1MDB recovery

AG: RM236.5mil returned so far to Malaysia in 1MDB recovery

Former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng pleaded not guilty to criminal charges linked to a multibillion-dollar scandal at the Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB in an appearance at federal court in NY on Monday.

Ng, who left Goldman Sachs in 2014, faces up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted of the three charges against him in the United States, based on alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Huge sums of public money were stolen from Malaysian state fund 1MDB 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 election defeat.

Last year, the DoJ accused 46-year-old Ng of conspiring to launder money and bribe government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi through bond offerings that Goldman Sachs handled.

In a statement on its Facebook page today, the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur said its Ambassador to Malaysia, Kamala Shirin Lakhdir, and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan today met Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng and Attorney General Tommy Thomas. He was ordered to undergo a 60-day remand for extradition proceedings after three charges were filed against him in a court in NY. Leissner has pleaded guilty.

He would then be tried in Malaysia as soon as the U.S. proceedings were concluded.

Ng asked to be sent to the United States but Malaysia initially insisted he remain in the country until legal proceedings there had been completed.

Thomas said the payment was the first the U.S. had executed, with additional transfers still to come.

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A United States indictment against Ng includes charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Marc Agnifilo, a lawyer for Ng, said he expected his client to plead not guilty, in comments reported by the New York Times on Monday.

Goldman's role is under scrutiny as the Wall Street bank helped arrange $6.5 billion in bonds for 1MDB.

The DoJ is also in the process of remitting another $139 million, pending the sale of a Manhattan property linked to fugitive Malaysian financier, Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, Thomas said.

Malaysian and USA authorities say about $4.5 billion were allegedly siphoned from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state fund founded in 2009 by then Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak.

USA prosecutors claim the diverted cash was used by conspirators to buy luxury property in cities such as NY, acquire expensive artwork and fund the production of Hollywood films including The Wolf of Wall Street.

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

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