1MDB-linked banker disappears from US website

A 1MDB billboard at the Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 6, 2015.
A 1MDB billboard at the Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 6, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - A former Goldman Sachs Group banker embroiled in the multibillion dollar 1MDB scandal has quietly vanished from the website of his last-known employer, a US-based energy drinks company backed by Hong Kong's richest man.

Roger Ng has been scrubbed off the website of Celsius Holdings Inc, where he was previously listed as managing director for Asia.

Kathy Carliner, an outside spokeswoman for Celsius, declined to comment on the reasons for the removal, or on Ng's employment status with the firm, as did Horizons Ventures, the venture capital arm of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, which is a key investor in Celsius. Representatives for Ng couldn't be reached for comment.

Ng isn't the only link that Celsius has to people connected with 1Malaysia Development Bhd, the fund at the centre of a globe-spanning financial scandal that has infected corners of Wall Street and Hollywood. Another former Goldman Sachs banker, Tim Leissner, is a shareholder in the US firm.

Celsius said in April 2015 Leissner would join its board. He left the bank in early 2016 and stepped down from Celsius in May 2017. Ng, who introduced Leissner to 1MDB and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, according to people familiar with the matter, left the bank in 2014 and joined Celsius as the firm's most senior executive in Asia in 2016.

Russell Simmons, the former husband of Leissner's wife Kimora and another shareholder in Celsius, touched on who had invested in the energy drink firm in an April 2015 interview with Bloomberg Television.

"I was speaking to Kimora," Simmons said. "She's married to Tim Leissner and he knew the group in Hong Kong and we talked about what it might be to acquire a big piece of it and we did."

Founded in 2004, Celsius has been incurring losses for at least the past decade. Its energy drinks, which claim to burn fats, are sold in Target Corp stores and distributed by Li's AS Watson Group in Asia.