U.S. Begins Returning Stolen 1MDB Funds, Officials Gather For Case Discussion

Roger Ng
Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng and his lawyer Marc Agnifilo leave the federal court in New York, U.S., May 6, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Jeenah Moon)

Malaysian and U.S. law enforcement leaders will meet this week to discuss appropriate measures on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case that will see both the United States and Singapore return stolen funds to the state fund.

According to The Star, discussions on the high-profile issue involving Goldman Sachs Group Inc. former banker Roger Ng and others kicked off on Tuesday and will end Wednesday. Officials from Malaysia and Singapore's attorney generals' offices are currently evaluating the matter with representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

An insider with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that white-collar police from Singapore are also joining the discussions as the city-state and the U.S. government united to return misappropriated 1MDB funds to Malaysia.

While Goldman said in a previous statement that it will cooperate with authorities to resolve the issue, a spokeswoman refused to comment on the ongoing talks near Kuala Lumpur.

The latest information on the 1MDB case revealed that former senior Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy. Multiple outlets confirmed that Ng has been turned over to the U.S. DOJ.

While Ng is set to face trial over the fund misappropriation case, he pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. According to the Financial Times, Ng has posted $20 on bail and has been released in the meantime.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Wednesday that the U.S. has returned $57 million in 1MDB funds to the Malaysian government as part of the investigation that seeks to recover all misappropriated funds.

According to the Straits Times, the said amount is the first batch of returned money that has now been turned over to an asset recovery account that was established specifically for the 1MDB issue.

The report added that the original amount alleged to have been forfeited by Riza Aziz-founded Red Granite Pictures stood at $60 million. However, around $3 million has been deducted to cover investigation costs.

Singapore, on the other hand, has started transferring funds to Malaysia over the past few months. Malaysian Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said that the city-state's balance of $35 million is expected to be repatriated to the Malaysian government soon. $15 million has already been returned to the government.

In line with the 1MDB controversy, it was revealed that a total of RM.3 billion or $322 million has been recovered so far. "Such recovery could not be achieved without the assistance and excellent cooperation that the Malaysian authorities enjoy with our counterparts in the US and Singapore," Thomas said.

Thomas said Malaysia is thankful for the assistance provided by the Singaporean and U.S. governments. He said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration under Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is looking forward to recovering balances throughout the year.

© 2019 Business Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Sign Up for Newsletters and Alerts