Jho Low ‘not to be trusted’, ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng says in US court filing

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng (left) and his lawyer Marc Agnifilo leave the federal court in New York May 6, 2019. — Reuters pic
Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng (left) and his lawyer Marc Agnifilo leave the federal court in New York May 6, 2019. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — A former executive with Goldman Sachs claims to have warned higher-ups at the US investment bank against dealing with Jho Low as early as March 2020, despite having introduced the flamboyant financier now wanted by Interpol.

Ex-banker Roger Ng Chong Hwa who is set to be tried in the US next March for bribery and conspiring to launder at least US$2.7 billion (RM11 billion) siphoned from 1MDB has contested the charges, claiming the US has no right to prosecute him as the alleged crimes were committed in Malaysia, Bloomberg reported today.

Citing from Ng’s 126-page court filing, the financial news wire reported the former Goldman Sachs employee saying Low was “not to be trusted”.

According to the Bloomberg report, Ng admitted to introducing the Malaysian financier whose real name is Low Taek Jho to Goldman Sachs in early 2009. He claimed that at that time, he had no knowledge that Low was running a fraud scheme.

Ng also claimed that his former boss, Tim Leissner, another ex-Goldman Sachs employee who Bloomberg said has agreed to plead guilty and testify against him, is the person responsible for the 1MDB fraud for persuading the bank to do business with Low.

“Ng’s warnings were shared with the highest levels of the compliance and legal divisions of the company. The company did not listen to him,” Ng’s defence lawyer Marc Agnifilo was quoted by Bloomberg as saying in the filing.

“It was Leissner, and Leissner alone, who thereafter lied for Low, protected Low and ultimately became a full-fledged criminal in the service of Low,” the lawyer was quoted saying further.

Agnifilo was also reported to have claimed that a condition imposed by the US authorities as part of its multi-billion dollar agreement with Goldman limited his client’s defence.

“The requirement means that any Goldman official Ng warned about Low will now be ‘afraid’ of telling the truth, worried it would void the bank’s deal with the US.

“This creates a constitutional issue in this case by constraining Ng’s use of witnesses in his defense,” Agnifilo was quoted saying.

Bloomberg said it contacted Goldman Sachs, Leissner’s attorneys, and the US Attorney’s Office for comment on the filing and all declined.

Leissner was one of Goldman’s top bankers in Asia and had previously been reported to have admitted to conspiring to launder money and violating US anti-bribery laws by participating in a scheme from 2009 to 2014 in order to get 1MDB’s bonds.

Ng is currently out on a US$20 million bond.

The Malaysian has also been charged in Malaysian courts with four counts of abetting UK-based Goldman Sachs International in alleged criminal offences linked to the 2012 and 2013 sale of US$6.5 billion (RM27 billion) worth of 1MDB bonds.

His trial here is pending the completion of the US criminal court case.

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