Friday 01 Dec 2023
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KUALA LUMPUR (April 9): Malaysia will await the sentencing and appeal process regarding former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker Roger Ng Chong Hwa, who on Friday (April 8) was convicted in the United States on three counts of foreign bribery in relation to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun told this on Saturday when asked to comment on Ng's case in Malaysia following his conviction in the US on Friday.

In Malaysia, Ng is facing charges under the Capital Market Services Act 2007 (CMSA).

“We (Malaysia) will wait for the process of sentencing after which Roger [Ng] has the right to appeal against conviction and sentence,” Idrus said briefly.

On Friday, Ng, who hails from Bukit Damansara here, had been found guilty by US jurors on all three indictments in a trial that spanned almost two months. He had been indicted in the US in 2019.

He was found guilty on two counts of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in relation to 1MDB by bribing government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi through bond offerings that Goldman Sachs handled.

Ng was also convicted on a charge of conspiracy to launder money.

Bloomberg reported that Friday's verdict came after an eight-week federal trial in Brooklyn, New York, that featured startling confessions from Ng's former superior Tim Leissner.

Leissner, the key witness against the former Goldman Sachs banker, admitted to telling a raft of personal and professional lies in the multibillion-dollar plunder of 1MDB, and arranging a trio of bond deals amounting to a mammoth sum of US$6.5 billion.

Despite the conviction, elusive fugitive Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, also faces indictment with Ng for paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes to officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi to clinch the bond deals and for taking US$1.42 billion for himself.

Proceeds from the scam were used on items including a US$200 million super-yacht and to finance “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

Ng facing four counts of abetment in Malaysia

Here in Malaysia, Ng is facing four counts of violating the CMSA, namely abetting Goldman Sachs in the sale of notes and bonds belonging to 1MDB subsidiaries by omitting material information and publishing untrue statements.

He is charged under Section 370(c) of the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007, which carries a punishment of up to 10 years' imprisonment and a fine of at least RM1 million, upon conviction.

Among material facts allegedly omitted in these bond issuances was the fact that Jho Low was the principal controller and intermediary of 1MDB.

On Feb 21 last year, High Court judge Datuk Muhammad Jami Hussin had ordered the four charges to be tried together after Ng was initially charged in two different High Courts. Ng had claimed trial to the charges.

Although Ng is charged with abetment with Goldman Sachs, the charge against the US financial institution was dropped in September 2020 after it agreed to a US$2.5 billion financial settlement with Malaysia.

Besides this, Ng and his wife Lim Hwee Bin, who is a lawyer as well as the sole defence witness in the US trial, are also facing forfeiture of RM1.88 million the couple held in their seven accounts in Malayan Banking Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd.

Although the forfeiture was dismissed by the High Court last November, the prosecution is appealing the matter to the Court of Appeal.

Edited BySurin Murugiah
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