Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng extradited to Malaysia for 1MDB trial

BenarNews staff
Washington and Kuala Lumpur
Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng extradited to Malaysia for 1MDB trial Former Goldman Sachs executive Roger Ng (center) leaves Brooklyn Federal court in New York, accompanied by defense attorney Marc Agnifilo, May 6, 2019.
Mary Altaffer/AP

UPDATED at 7:15 a.m. EDT on 2023-10-07

An ex-Goldman Sachs banker convicted in the U.S. for his role in the theft of billions of dollars from the Malaysian 1MDB fund was traveling back to Malaysia, his lawyer said late Friday, after a federal court ordered his client’s extradition to face trial there.  

The federal court in New York City determined that Ng Chong Hwa (commonly referred to as Roger Ng) would be brought back to the United States after the Malaysian trial to serve 10 years in prison. 

“Roger is en route to Malaysia. I will continue to engage the authorities there once he settles in,” Marc Agnifilo, Ng’s New York attorney, confirmed to BenarNews on Friday evening.

Ng was convicted in April 2022 for taking part in a scheme to steal billions of U.S. dollars from 1MDB, a beleaguered state development fund at the heart of a scandal that brought about the downfall of former Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Last March, Ng, a Malaysian national, was sentenced in New York on two counts of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering 

Under an extradition treaty between the U.S. and Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur had handed Ng over to American authorities temporarily to stand trial at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. 

“[T]he defendant shall be remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service … on October 6, 2023, at a time to be determined by the USMS, to effectuate his return to Malaysia,” U.S. Margo K. Brodie, chief judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, ruled on Thursday, according to a copy of her order. 

On Friday, a spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals declined comment, saying the agency has a policy of not commenting on a prisoner’s transfer.  

Meanwhile, the Malaysian envoy to Washington confirmed that Ng was to be returned to his country.

Ambassador Nazri Aziz, who was appointed to the post in February, said Malaysian officials expected Ng to be extradited “as soon as possible.”

He said he could not release travel information for security concerns.

“If the U.S. did not trust in the government, they would not be sending back prisoners to the country of origin,” he said. “It shows the U.S. trusts the present government.”

Back in Malaysia, Tan Hock Chuan, a lawyer representing Ng, Tan Hock Chuan, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Malaysian Attorney General’s Chamber declined comment.

In April, a Brooklyn jury found Ng – who had been extradited from Malaysia in 2018 to stand trial – guilty of all charges against him following a trial which saw his former boss and co-conspirator Timothy Leissner testify against him.

The U.S. Department of Justice alleged that Ng, joined by Leissner, fugitive Malaysian financier Jho Low (whose real name is Low Taek Jho), and others conspired to steal more than $2.7 billion (11.3 billion ringgit) from 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

While on the witness stand for several days, Leissner testified that he, along with Ng and Low, had used off-shore accounts and shell companies to “disguise the flow of funds,” according to news service reports. 

“If we told any bank the truth, it wouldn’t work. … The house of cards would have fallen down,” he testified.

In addition, the DOJ charged Ng with conspiring to violate the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, and conspiring to circumvent Goldman Sachs accounting controls.

A woman walks past the construction site of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) flagship Tun Razak Exchange in Kuala Lumpur, July 3, 2015.
A woman walks past the construction site of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) flagship Tun Razak Exchange in Kuala Lumpur, July 3, 2015. [AFP]

The 1MDB scandal, in which at least $4.5 billion was looted from the fund established by Najib in 2009 to spur development in his country, led to the ouster of his government in an historic election in 2018. In July 2020, the ex-prime minister was convicted of massive corruption in connection with the scandal and was sent to prison in August 2022. 

In March, a Malaysian Federal Court panel denied Najib’s final effort to be freed from prison over his 12-year sentence following his conviction on charges linked to 1MDB affiliate SRC International. The former prime minister who lost power when his ruling coalition fell in the 2018 general election faces additional trials linked to 1MDB.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Attorney General Idrus Harun said his office had rejected an attempt by Jho Low to settle the 1MDB criminal case against him. The subject of an international manhunt – Interpol has filed a red notice against him – faces charges in the U.S. as well.

“The AGC [Attorney General’s Chambers] confirms that Jho Low, through his representatives, has made attempts to engage with the Government of Malaysia for a settlement this year,” the attorney general said in the statement at the time. “All offers for a settlement from Jho Low’s representatives were rejected by the AGC.”

Idrus did not comment on reports that Jho Low had offered 1.5 billion ringgits ($318 million) to settle the charges against him.

Nazmul Ahasan in Washington and Minderjeet Kaur and Iman Muttaqin Yusof in Kuala Lumpur contributed to this report.

This report has been updated with information to confirm that Roger Ng was returning to Malaysia. 


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