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1MDB banker Roger Ng to be hauled to KL court today after U.S. arrest warrant

November 2, 2018

Dragnet tightens as DOJ launches criminal charges against Jho Low, Tim Leissner & Ng

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WANTED financier businessman Jho Low has maintained his innocence in the 1MDB scandal today while former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng Chong Hwa is due in a Kuala Lumpur court later for a remand hearing.

Malaysian police arrested Ng yesterday after a warrant was issued by United States Department of Justice (DoJ) which unveiled criminal indictments against him, another former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner and Low over a conspiracy to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), and to paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials.

A spokesman for Low’s legal team said the businessman formally known as Low Taek Jho is maintaining his innocence of all charges.

“As noted in the indictment today, Mr Low held no formal position at 1MDB, nor was he ever employed by Goldman Sachs, or the governments of Malaysia or Abu Dhabi.

“The US Department of Justice specifically states that the charges in the indictment are allegations, and that Mr Low is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

“Mr Low simply asks that the public keep an open mind regarding this case until all of the evidence comes to light, which he believes will vindicate him,” it added.

Yesterday, ex-Goldman official Leissner pleaded guilty and agreed to pay US$43.7 (RM182 million) million in restitution of ill-gotten gains.

Malaysian authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Low and have also applied for an Interpol red notice seeking assistance from the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong.

Low, whose Malaysian passport has been revoked, has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Former prime minister Najib Razak is the Malaysian Official No. 1 in the Department of Justice’s court filings and faces multiple counts of corruption charges linked to the 1MDB scandal.

According to allegations in court filings, beginning in approximately 2009 and continuing through 2014, Low, Ng, Leissner and the other co-conspirators used Low’s relationships to obtain and retain business for Goldman Sach through the promise and payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes, including to ensure 1MDB awarded the financial institution a role in three bond transactions known internally at the financial Institution as “Project Magnolia”, “Project Maximus” and “Project Catalyse.”

The 1MDB scandal has roiled politics in Malaysia, leading to criminal charges against former prime minister Najib Razak, the “Malaysian Official 1” mentioned in the DoJ’s court filings. Today’s indictments and guilty plea constitute the first US indictments in the far-flung case.

The men were charged with conspiring to launder billions of dollars from 1MDB, a strategic development fund set up for the benefit of the development of the country, and conspiring to bribe officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Ng was also charged with conspiring to violate the internal controls at Goldman Sachs, which underwrote more than US$6 billion in bonds issued by 1MDB, the government said.

Under the 2012 “Project Magnolia” bond offering by 1MDB, Low allegedly told the ex-Goldman bankers they needed to bribe officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi to guarantee that the transaction went through.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes were subsequently paid to officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi. After the bond transaction was executed, more than US$500 million of the bond proceeds were misappropriated into shell companies controlled by Low, Leissner, Ng and other co-conspirators, the government said.

Some of the funds went to finance the movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, a 2013 Oscar-nominated film starring Leonardo diCaprio about Jordan Belfort, a corrupt stockbroker who was sent to prison for fraud, the government said.



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