Ex-Goldman banker convicted in 1MDB bribery case

Prosecutors say Roger Ng, Goldman’s former investment banker for Malaysia, helped his former boss Tim Leissner embezzle money from the fund – which was founded to pursue development projects in the country of Southeast Asia – laundering profits and bribing officials to win business for Goldman.
Ng, 49, pleaded not guilty to conspiring to launder money and violating an anti-corruption law. His lawyers say Leissner, who pleaded guilty to similar charges in 2018 and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors’ investigation, falsely implicated Ng in hopes of receiving a lenient sentence.

The jury found Ng guilty of two counts of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and one count of conspiracy to launder money.

Deliberations began Tuesday after a nearly two-month trial in federal court in Brooklyn.

The charges stemmed from one of the biggest financial scandals in history.

Prosecutors said Goldman helped 1MDB raise $6.5 billion through three bond sales, but $4.5 billion was diverted to government officials, bankers and their associates through bribes and bribes between 2009 and 2015.

Ng is the first, and likely the only, person to stand trial in the United States for this scheme. Goldman (GS) in 2020, paid a fine of almost $3 billion and its Malaysian unit agreed to plead guilty.

Jurors heard nine days of testimony from Leissner, who said he sent Ng $35 million in bribes. Leissner said the men agreed to tell the banks a “cover story” that the money came from a legitimate business venture between their wives.

Ng’s wife, Hwee Bin Lim, later testified for the defense that the business venture was, in fact, legitimate. She said she invested $6 million in the mid-2000s in a Chinese company owned by the family of Leissner’s wife, Judy Chan, and that the $35 million was her return on that investment.

Ng’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, said in closing arguments Monday that Leissner could not be trusted. Alixandra Smith, a prosecutor, said in her summary that Leissner’s testimony was supported by other evidence.

Jho Low, a Malaysian financier and alleged mastermind of the scheme, was charged alongside Ng in 2018 but remains at large.


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