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Ex-Goldman Sachs banker denied bail in Malaysia pending US extradition

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KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian court yesterday declined to grant bail to former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng, pending his extradition to the US where he faces charges related to suspected money laundering of funds siphoned off from state fund 1MDB.

Ng has been detained in Kuala Lumpur since Nov 1 last year, shortly after the US Department of Justice announced charges against him, Tim Leissner and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho over the alleged theft of billions of dollars from 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Leissner, a former partner for Goldman Sachs in Asia, pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, while Low has denied wrongdoing and remains at large.

Malaysian prosecutors have filed separate criminal charges against the three, as well as an application to extradite Ng to the US.

Defence lawyer Tan Hock Chuan last week had requested Ng be released on medical reasons pending the extradition proceedings.

Judge Edwin Paramjothy Michael Muniandy, however, dismissed the request for bail yesterday saying there was insufficient evidence that Ng was too unfit to remain in custody.

The judge said the court also considered Ng a serious flight risk, given the gravity and high-profile nature of the cases against him.

"With the likelihood that the respondent will abscond, I am of the considered view that the respondent's presence (in court) cannot be secured by the setting of bail or the setting of any condition to the granting of bail," he said.

Mr Tan said he would appeal the judge's ruling and that a reply against Ng's extradition would be filed by Feb 15.

According to prosecutors, Goldman Sachs generated about $600 million in fees for its work with 1MDB, which included three bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 that raised $6.5 billion. Leissner, Ng and others received large bonuses in connection with that revenue. - REUTERS