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Malaysia sends ex-Goldman banker to US over 1MDB charges

[KUALA LUMPUR] A former Goldman Sachs banker has been extradited from Malaysia to the United States to face charges linked to the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal, Malaysia said Monday.

Huge sums of public money were stolen from Malaysian state fund 1MDB and used to buy everything from yachts to artwork, in a scheme allegedly overseen by former premier Najib Razak and his cronies.

Goldman's role is under scrutiny as the Wall Street bank helped arrange US$6.5 billion in bonds for 1MDB.

Authorities in Malaysia accuse former employees and some of the bank's subsidiaries of stealing US$2.7 billion during the process, and investigators believe cash was laundered through the US financial system.

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Malaysian Ng Chong Hwa - a former managing director at the bank charged in both Malaysia and America over 1MDB - was extradited to the US on Friday, Malaysian attorney-general Tommy Thomas said.

Mr Thomas said in a statement that an agreement had been reached for "a temporary surrender by Malaysia of Roger Ng for a period of 10 months to enable him to be extradited to the US, and for the US prosecution to proceed first".

"Roger Ng was temporarily surrendered to the US on May 3, 2019, and shall be returned to Malaysia to face our charges as soon as the proceedings in the US are concluded," he added.

Ng, more commonly known as Roger Ng, had been in custody in Malaysia since November when the US unveiled 1MDB-linked charges against him and lodged an extradition request.

Malaysia later filed its own charges against Ng over the scandal.

Ng asked to be sent to the US but Malaysia initially insisted he remain in the country until legal proceedings there had been completed.

Malaysia and the US have also charged former Goldman partner Tim Leissner for his part in the controversy.

Leissner has already pleaded guilty in the US to 1MDB-linked charges.

The DoJ estimates that US$4.5 billion was looted from the fund by Najib and his associates.

The allegations played a major role in Najib's government losing power last year. He has since been hit with dozens of charges linked to the scandal and last month went on trial.

AFP