Despite dropping Goldman Sachs’ 1MDB-linked charges, prosecution says will continue with ex-banker Roger Ng’s case

KUALA LUMPUR : The prosecution today said it intends to proceed with its criminal case against former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng, even as it dropped all charges against three Goldman Sachs companies over the 2012 and 2013 sale of US$6.5 billion (RM27 billion) worth of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) bonds.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Masri Mohd Daud asked High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan to set a new case management date, since Ng was still not yet present and was expected to return to the country in November.

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng leaves the federal court in New York May 6, 2019. — Reuters pic
Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng leaves the federal court in New York May 6, 2019. — Reuters pic

“In this case, the prosecution still intends to continue,” he told the court.

Masri also said that the prosecution may seek to transfer this case to be heard before High Court judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin, who will be hearing another case involving Ng.

Ng’s lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan then said this was the first time he had heard of the prosecution’s possible plan to transfer the case, and then asked for a case management date.null

Zaini then fixed the case for case management on September 10, for both the prosecution and Ng’s lawyers to update on whether they intend to have the case transferred to Jamil’s court or if they need more time to decide.

The other case involving Ng in Jamil’s court is also scheduled for case management on September 10.

Ng was previously charged in Malaysia, before being extradited to the US to face charges there for 1MDB-linked offences.

In the case before Zaini, the charges that Ng is facing four counts of abetting the UK-based Goldman Sachs International in its alleged offences relating to the 1MDB-linked bonds. Ng’s trial in Zaini’s court was previously scheduled to start on November 9.

The company Goldman Sachs International was previously facing four charges involving the alleged omission of material facts and making untrue statements of material facts in relation to three bonds worth US$6.5 billion that were issued by three 1MDB subsidiaries. Ng was charged in December 2018 under Section 370(c) of the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 with abetting Goldman Sachs International of committing the alleged offences.

Earlier today, the prosecution however informed the High Court that it was dropping all the four charges against Goldman Sachs International, as well as the charges against the company’s Asian entities Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC and Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte for their role in allegedly abetting Goldman Sachs International in the omission and making of untrue statements of material facts in the 1MDB-linked bonds.

The prosecution said it was discontinuing the prosecution against the three Goldman Sachs companies due to “new developments”, but did not elaborate what these new developments were.

With those three cases also being brought before Zaini, he then granted orders to discharge and acquit the three Goldman Sachs companies.

Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who was representing the three companies, had asked for the court to grant orders of discharge amounting to acquittal for these three Goldman Sachs entities. He confirmed to Malay Mail that each company was acquitted of all four charges each against them, which means the three companies were collectively discharged and acquitted of a total of 12 charges.

The prosecution’s dropping today of all 12 charges against the three Goldman Sachs companies comes shortly after the investment bank’s recent striking of a deal with the Malaysian government to drop criminal charges in return for paying money.

On July 24, US investment bank Goldman Sachs and the Malaysian government reportedly confirmed having agreed in principle to a US$3.9 billion (RM16.6 billion) settlement over the 1MDB scandal, with the deal comprising of a US$2.5 billion cash payment that Goldman Sachs has to make and with the bank to also guarantee a return of at least $1.4 billion in seized assets linked to 1MDB bonds.

Malaysia’s Finance Ministry had on July 24 said that the US$3.9 billion deal will resolve all outstanding charges and claims against Goldman Sachs over the three 1MDB-linked bonds, with Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz saying then: “We are also glad to be able to resolve this outside the court system, which would have cost a lot of time, money and resources. With this settlement, we will have the return of the monies expedited, and not held up by lengthy and costly court battles and legal process.”

On August 18, Goldman Sachs Group Inc had confirmed that it had signed an agreement with Malaysia to finalise the US$3.9 billion deal, with news wire Bloomberg reporting that the company has to pay US$2.5 billion in cash to Malaysia within 10 days.

Local daily The Edge previously reported that Malaysia had on August 27 received payment of US$2.5 billion from Goldman Sachs.

BY : IDA LIM – MALAY MAIL

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