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Officials from 3 countries meeting on approach to Goldman in 1MDB case

Law enforcement officials from US, Malaysia, Singapore to discuss investment bank's role in financial scandal

Roger Ng (left), a former banker for Goldman Sachs Group, and his lawyer Marc Agnifilo leaving federal court in New York on Monday. Ng is in plea talks to avoid a US trial on charges that he broke US anti-bribery laws and conspired to launder money embezzled from Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB.

Singapore/Kuala Lumpur

LAW enforcement officials from the US, Malaysia and Singapore are meeting near Kuala Lumpur this week to coordinate their legal approaches toward Goldman Sachs Group over its work raising money for scandal-plagued state fund 1MDB, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The meetings are taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday and include representatives from the US Department of Justice as well as the attorney-general offices in Malaysia and Singapore, the people said, asking not to be identified.

Officials from Singapore's white-collar police are also attending, one of the people said.

Goldman is facing scrutiny in all three countries over its role helping 1MDB raise more than US$6 billion in bond sales that generated some US$600 million in fees for the bank. Malaysia has filed criminal charges against three Goldman entities, while US prosecutors have charged two former bankers at the firm. Singapore is planning to seek a deferred-prosecution agreement with Goldman, one of the people said.

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The DOJ couldn't immediately be reached outside of business hours. Authorities in Malaysia and Singapore didn't immediately respond to requests for comment, while a spokeswoman for Goldman declined to comment.

Authorities in the three countries will continue to pursue legal actions related to 1MDB independently while keeping each other informed, two of the people said. Goldman has previously said it continues to cooperate with all authorities investigating the matter.

Roger Ng, a former Goldman banker, is in plea talks to avoid a US trial on charges that he broke American anti-bribery laws and conspired to launder money embezzled from 1MDB.

Ng, a Malaysian citizen, is also facing charges in his home country. Malaysia's Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said Ng was extradited on a warrant that allows him to remain in US custody for up to 10 months.

Former senior Goldman banker Tim Leissner earlier pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and violating the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to Malaysia and Abu Dhabi officials and circumventing Goldman's internal accounting controls.

Ng was Leissner's deputy and left Goldman in 2014. He was detained in Kuala Lumpur in November after the US charges were made public.

Goldman has sought to depict Leissner and Ng as rogue employees who kept the firm in the dark about their 1MDB dealings.

Chief Executive Officer David Solomon on April 30 said Goldman had not begun talks with the DOJ over how to best resolve its role in the scandal.

The past week brought signs that US, Malaysian and Singaporean officials are increasingly willing to cooperate to get the the bottom of the global scandal. Malaysian officials had previously insisted on delaying Ng's extradition to prioritise the country's own case against him.

US authorities are returning about US$200 million of funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB to Malaysia, while Singapore is returning some US$26 million that was previously surrendered by Ng, Bloomberg reported last week.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday confirmed that the US and Singapore have returned money, and said he hopes to recoup US$7 billion of funds related to 1MDB. BLOOMBERG

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