Court allows ex-Goldman banker to face 1MDB charges in US

Roger Ng’s lawyer, Tan Hock Chuan, has asked for the order from the home ministry to be issued within three months.

KUALA LUMPUR: Roger Ng, a former Goldman Sachs Group banker caught up in the 1MDB fraud scandal, will be allowed to return to the US to face criminal charges against him there, a court ruled today.

Ng has been detained in Kuala Lumpur since Nov 1, shortly after the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced charges against him for allegedly laundering funds syphoned off from the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund. He left Goldman Sachs in 2014.

Ng had agreed to waive extradition and will be sent to the US pending an order from the home ministry, judge Edwin Paramjothy Michael Muniandy said in a Kuala Lumpur court today.

Ng’s lawyer, Tan Hock Chuan, asked for the order to be issued within 30 days. It must be issued within three months under Malaysian law.

Ng had reached an agreement with the DoJ on bail and other terms, Tan said.

“The respondent intends to defend the case on its merits in the court of the Eastern District of New York, the US,” Tan told the court.

Marc Agnifilo, Ng’s New York-based lawyer, told Reuters ahead of the hearing that his client intended to plead not guilty when he appeared in a US federal court.

Ng is facing separate criminal charges in Malaysia but it is unclear how they will affect his transfer. The attorney general’s office did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Tim Leissner, another Goldman Sachs official, and financier Low Taek Jho have also been charged in the US over the alleged theft of billions of dollars from 1MDB. Leissner has pleaded guilty.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman, asked about Ng, said: “As we have said all along, we are outraged that any employee of the firm would undertake the actions detailed in the government’s charges.”

Goldman Sachs is being investigated by Malaysian authorities and the DoJ for its role as underwriter and arranger of three bond sales that raised US$6.5 billion for 1MDB.