Ex-Goldman banker Roger Ng can't be in two places at once, says lawyer

Tan Hock Chuan, Roger Ng's lawyer, at the Sessions Court for Ng's extradition hearing today. Photo by: Mohd Suhaimi Mohamed Yusuf

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 4): Former Goldman Sachs employee Roger Ng's lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan this morning told the Sessions Court today that it was difficult for him to prepare for the defence as they did not have access to each other prior to today.

Tan had earlier requested 15 minutes to confer with his client.

Last month, Ng was charged with abetting his former employer in the issuance of bonds worth RM6.5 billion relating to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Ng, 46, claimed trial in the Sessions Court to four charges of abetting Goldman Sachs in the sale of the guaranteed notes and bonds belonging to 1MDB's subsidiaries by omitting material information and publishing untrue statements.

Each of the charges under subsection 370(c) of the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 carries a punishment of up to 10 years' imprisonment and a fine of not less than RM1 million.

Judge Ahmad Kamal Ariffin Ismail then allowed Ng bail at RM1 million in two sureties for all the charges and ordered him to surrender his passport to the court. Ng, however, was not released as he was still under remand for his extradition case.

At Ng's extradition hearing at the court this morning, Tan argued that with Ng in custody, it was difficult for him to prepare for his defence against various 1MBD-related charges as the lawyer was restricted to meeting Ng for one hour per week.

Tan further informed the court that Ng was willing to abide by any conditions, including surrendering international passport, house arrest, reporting to police within any intervals of time, and even having an electronic monitoring device installed on him.

He also argued that there was no way of co-existence of Ng's extradition to attend US Department of Justice charges while facing charges in Malaysia.

"My client cannot be in two places in one time," he said.

He is seeking Ng's release from remand after the latter's appearance at the Sessions Court today.

Presenting his case further, Tan said Ng's health had deteriorated since he was in custody; Ng was hospitalised for five days from Dec 3, suffering from illnesses like leptospirosis, food poisoning, dengue, and viral infection.

However, the prosecution in Ng's extradition hearing objected to bail, pointing out that all the points raised by Ng's lawyer have been considered at High Court, yet the High Court judge decided to dismiss the bail application.