International Asia Ex-Goldman banker seeks review of Malaysian 1MDB charges

Ex-Goldman banker seeks review of Malaysian 1MDB charges

Billions of dollars were looted from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in a fraud involving former prime minister Najib Razak, and spent on everything from real estate to a superyacht. 

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A former Goldman Sachs executive is seeking a review of charges in Malaysia linked to the 1MDB scandal, his lawyer said Thursday, after the bank and the country’s government reached a settlement.

Billions of dollars were looted from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in a fraud involving former prime minister Najib Razak, and spent on everything from real estate to a superyacht.

Goldman’s role came under scrutiny over bond issues worth $6.5 billion it helped arrange for 1MDB, with Malaysia claiming money was stolen, and filing charges against the bank and current and former employees.

However, the Wall Street titan and Malaysia reached a $3.9 billion settlement in July after lengthy negotiations, under which authorities agreed to end criminal proceedings.

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Ng Chong Hwa, a Malaysian ex-managing director at the bank, has been charged in Malaysia and the United States over the fraud.

On Thursday, Ng’s lawyer Tan Hock Chuan said a letter had been sent to Malaysia’s attorney-general seeking to get four charges relating to abetment of false statements reduced or dropped.

“On instructions of my client, we sent a letter of representation to the AG (attorney-general) to review the charges against him,” he told reporters after a court hearing in Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysian government had already withdrawn 1MDB-linked charges against three Goldman units last week.

Ng is currently in the US — which is investigating the fraud because stolen money was allegedly laundered through the American financial system — where he has pleaded not guilty to 1MDB-linked charges.

Malaysian authorities previously said the banker, also known as Roger Ng, would face trial in Malaysia once the US case has wrapped up.

Najib, who lost power in 2018 elections, inpart because of public anger over the scandal, was sentenced to 12 years’ jail in July after being found guilty in a 1MDB-linked trial.

He remains free on bail while he appeals.

pl/sr/tom

© Agence France-Presse

/AFP

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