Former Goldman banker Roger Ng has been sitting in a Malaysian jail cell since he was arrested in November and charged with abetting his employer’s efforts to mislead investors in the three Goldman-organized bond offerings that helped capitalize the doomed Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, which is at the center of what the DOJ alleges was a more than $4 billion fraud. But soon, Ng will find himself free on bail back in the US, now that the DOJ’s extradition request has been granted by the Malaysian government.
Ng is facing charges of money laundering in bribery in the states that are similar to those to which his former boss, former Goldman southeast Asia chief Tim Leissner, pleaded guilty last fall. Leissner has agreed to cooperate with US prosecutors to expose what he alleged was a “culture of corruption” at his former employer. Ng will return to the US within 30 days, according to his lawyers.
Tan Hock Chuan, Mr Ng’s lawyer, said on Friday that his client had reached an agreement with the DoJ for bail and has requested to return to the US within 30 days.
Marc Agnifilo, Mr Ng’s New York-based lawyer, told the Financial Times the former Goldman banker had waived extradition to the US and that “upon his arrival, he will plead not guilty.”
Though Ng is facing a separate bill of charges in Malaysia, he was initially arrested in November at the behest of US authorities. According to the Financial Times, his extradition is the latest sign that the DOJ’s globe-spanning graft investigation is starting to accelerate.
The US indictment against Mr Ng accuses him of helping misappropriate more than $2.7bn from three 1MDB bonds arranged by Goldman Sachs in 2012 and 2013, totalling $6.5bn.
Authorities allege that Mr Ng conspired with Jho Low, a Malaysian financier deemed to be at the heart of the 1MDB scandal, Tim Leissner, a former Goldman Sachs partner, and others to bribe government officials so the bank would win business advising the fund. Mr Ng also faces criminal charges in Malaysia similar to those filed by the DoJ. Mr Tan on Friday said it was up to the Malaysian government to decide how to proceed with its own charges against Mr Ng.
According to Bloomberg, Malaysia had dismissed Ng’s application for bail deeming him “a serious flight risk.”
But since he will be free in the US, one can’t help but wonder if he’s in the process of negotiating a deal of his own with prosecutors, and, if so, what additional ammunition he might be able to hand to prosecutors as it becomes increasingly clear that the DOJ isn’t focusing solely on the bank itself, but some of the former senior executives – including possibly Lloyd Blankfein himself.