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Ex-Goldman Malaysian banker faces US extradition over 1MDB scandal

By AFP
media The scheme to siphon billions from Malaysia's state fund 1MDB allegedly involved then-PM Najib Razak AFP/File

Malaysia on Wednesday moved to extradite to the United States a former Goldman Sachs banker embroiled in the multi-billion-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 $6.5 billion of bonds but Kuala Lumpur accuses the bank and its former employees of misappropriating $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 told AFP that 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 United States.

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.

Ng was brought to court on Wednesday and will be charged, officials said.

Leissner has pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money allegedly siphoned from 1MDB and paying bribes to Malaysian and Emirati officials.

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.

 
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