Ex-Goldman banker facing 1MDB charges agrees to US extradition

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – An ex-Goldman Sachs banker accused of involvement in the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal has agreed to be extradited from Malaysia to the United States (US) to face charges, his lawyers said yesterday.

Huge sums of public money were purportedly stolen from Malaysian state fund 1MDB and used to buy everything from yachts to art in a scheme that allegedly involved former premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and contributed to his government’s election defeat.

Goldman’s role is under scrutiny as the Wall Street titan helped arrange USD6.5 billion in bonds for 1MDB. Authorities in Malaysia and the US accuse former employees of charges ranging from bribery to stealing billions of dollars, and investigators believe cash was laundered through the US financial system.

Malaysian Ng Chong Hwa, a former managing director at the bank, was indicted in November when US authorities also lodged an extradition request. He has been in custody in Malaysia since the US indictment.

Malaysia also filed charges against Ng, as well as Goldman Sachs and another of its former employees, Tim Leissner.

At a court hearing in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, Ng’s lawyers said he would stop fighting the extradition request and wanted to be sent to the US within 30 days.

“He intends to defend the case on its merits in the court for the Eastern District of New York,” his lawyer Tan Hock Chuan told reporters after the hearing.