Former Goldman banker Roger Ng loses bail bid

Roger Ng’s lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan speaks to reporters in Kuala Lumpur January 7, 2018, after a bail hearing for his client. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Roger Ng’s lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan speaks to reporters in Kuala Lumpur January 7, 2018, after a bail hearing for his client. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — The Sessions Court dismissed today former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng’s application for bail pending his extradition to the US to stand trial for three criminal charges related to 1MDB.

Ng’s defence team led by Datuk Tan Hock Chuan submitted the application last week for the ex-banker to be released in order to prepare his defence against the extradition proceedings.

Tan argued that this was being hampered as the lawyers were only allowed to confer with Ng for an hour each week at the Sungai Buloh prison.

The lawyer also argued that his client was unwell and in deteriorating health.

However, Sessions Court judge MM Edwin Paramjothy ruled that the arguments were inadequate to justify Ng’s release, particularly due to the high-profile nature of the case.

“Although the health of the respondent is in the interest of the court, the fact remains evidence presented to this court was insufficient to show the respondent could not be treated in custody.

“The matter at hand has engendered much public scrutiny the nature and circumstances of the events on the United States, and the seriousness of the offences charged and the range of possible formalities that the responded maybe facing are among the factors considered by this court,” he said.

Edwin said he must balance between Ng and the public’s interests in this matter, adding that the ex-banker posed a flight risk.

The judge also added that another accused individual faced the same limitations as Ng, which he said was not “extraordinary”.

“With the likelihood the respondent would abscond, I am of the considered view that the respondent’s presence cannot be secured by the setting of bail of setting of any conditions with the granting of bail.

“The interest of justice would be served if the respondent remains in custody pending the outcome of his extradition proceedings,” Edwin said when reading out his decision.

Deputy public prosecutor Mahadhir Mohd Khairuddin led the opposing team.

Tan later sought a court order to expedite the release of his client’s medical records from prison authorities, but was told to wait for a resolution.

The lawyer also said he intended to apply for visitation time with his client, but was told such decisions are not under the purview of the court.

January 22 was then set as the next date for Tan to update the court concerning his application to prison authorities.

The judge also set February 15 as the next court date for the respondents to submit a reply to the judgement through an affidavit.

On November 1 last year, Ng was arrested by the police and later remanded for 60 days pending the extradition request by US authorities.

On December 12, 2018, the government filed an application to extradite Ng to the US to face three criminal charges related to 1MDB, made by the Attorney General’s Chambers on behalf of the US government, who wanted Ng sent back to the US to face the Federal Court in the eastern district of New York.

The High Court here on December 13 dismissed Ng’s application to be released on bail pending the hearing of the extradition request on the grounds that Ng may escape from the country and the case involved public and national interests.

On December 19, 2018, Ng pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here to four counts of abetting Goldman Sachs over the sale of 1MDB bonds totalling US$6.5 billion (RM26.71 billion) by leaving out material facts and making false statements.

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