Malaysia charges another ex-Goldman Sachs banker over 1MDB

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia on Wednesday charged a second former banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N in connection with a suspected money-laundering scheme at state fund 1MDB and said it had issued a summons to the bank.

FILE PHOTO - Men walk past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the fund's flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2015. REUTERS/Olivia Harris/File Photo

Malaysia this week filed charges against Goldman Sachs in connection with its role as underwriter and arranger of bond sales that raised $6.5 billion for 1MDB, the first criminal action against the bank over 1MDB.

Tim Leissner, a former partner for Goldman Sachs in Asia, was also charged this week.

Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing and on Monday said certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to the bank about the proceeds of the bond sales.

The U.S. Justice Department has estimated that a total of $4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level 1MDB fund officials and their associates between 2009 and 2014, including some of the funds that Goldman Sachs helped raise.

On Wednesday, Malaysian prosecutors charged the second former Goldman banker, Roger Ng, a Malaysian, with four counts of abetting the bank to provide misleading statements in the offering prospectus for the bonds that the bank helped sell for 1MDB.

Ng, who appeared in court to hear the charges, pleaded not guilty to all of them.

The case will be heard next on March 18, with prosecutor Manoj Kurup saying he needed time to ensure the attendance of Goldman Sachs.

“They did the principal offense that he abetted. So they must have a chance to defend themselves too,” Kurup told reporters after the court hearing.

“We already have a summons against Goldman Sachs, but because they’re outside Malaysia, it takes time to do the legal process.”

Kurup did not elaborate when reporters asked which Goldman Sachs officials would be summoned. He said Malaysia would be considering mutual legal arrangements with other countries.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman said none of the Goldman Sachs entities named in the Malaysia charges had received any summons.

In the charge sheets, Malaysia alleged that three units of Goldman Sachs made untrue statements and omitted key facts in offering circulars for the bonds on the 1MDB management and use of proceeds.

Leissner, Malaysian financier Jho Low and a former 1MDB official Jasmine Loo were charged with abetting the bank to commit the offense.

Leissner and Ng were charged by the U.S. Justice Department on Nov. 1.

Leissner pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and has agreed to forfeit $43.7 million.

Singapore’s central bank on Wednesday said it had issued a lifetime prohibition order against Leissner.

Malaysia had said Ng would be extradited to the United States to face the charges there, but it was unclear how the new charges against Ng would affect that process.

Before Ng was charged on Wednesday, prosecutors filed an application in a Kuala Lumpur court to extradite him. The extradition case will be heard on Jan. 4.

Reporting by Rozanna Latiff, Writing by A. Ananthalakshmi