Ex-Goldman banker in plea talks over 1MDB charges, judge says

NEW YORK: A federal magistrate judge on Monday said the Justice Department is engaged in plea negotiations with a former managing director of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. who was extradited from Malaysia, a development that could help prosecutors build a case against the bank and Goldman employees in the scandal involving a Malaysian government fund.

News of the talks between the former banker, Roger Ng, and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn was revealed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo during Mr. Ng’s initial court hearing. He arrived Monday from Malaysia, where he had been held in jail since his arrest in November.

Marc Agnifilo, a lawyer for Mr. Ng, appeared to dispute the judge’s characterization, saying there had been no active plea negotiations. “At this point, we haven’t made a decision of how we’re going to deal with the case,” he said, adding that his client wasn’t ruling out any option.

The Justice Department has been weighing whether to force Goldman to agree to a guilty plea for its involvement in the scandal involving the fund called 1Malaysia Development Bhd, said people familiar with the matter. Multiple people within the department are advocating for a guilty plea, while the bank’s lawyers are pushing back.

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