Ex-Goldman banker found guilty of bribery and money laundering conspiracy in 1MDB case


NEW YORK, April 8 (Reuters) – Former Goldman Sachs (GS.N) banker Roger Ng was found guilty by a U.S. jury on Friday of corruption charges related to his role in the looting of hundreds of millions of dollars from the Malaysian development fund 1MDB.

The charges stemmed from one of the biggest financial scandals in history. Prosecutors charged Ng, Goldman’s former investment banker for Malaysia, with conspiring to violate an anti-corruption law and launder money.

They said he helped his former boss Tim Leissner embezzle money from the fund, launder profits and bribe officials to win business for Goldman.

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Ng, 49, had pleaded not guilty to the charges. 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 fund was created to pursue development projects in this Southeast Asian country.

The jury found Ng guilty of two counts of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by bribing and circumventing Goldman’s internal accounting controls, as well as one count of conspiracy to launder money. ‘money.

“Today’s verdict is a victory not only for the rule of law, but also for the people of Malaysia,” Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement. “The defendant and his associates did not see 1MDB as an entity to do good for the Malaysian people, but as a piggy bank to enrich themselves.”

Ng, dressed in a black suit jacket and black tie, showed little emotion as the jury foreman read the verdict. Ng glanced between the jury and the desk where he sat. His lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, lowered his head after the reading of the guilty verdict on the first count.

U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie, who is overseeing the case, ordered Ng to be placed under curfew pending sentencing, but said she did not consider him a flight risk.

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

“HARD TO WIN”

Agnifilo said Ng could appeal, depending on the outcome of his post-trial motions and his sentence. He stood by his decision to convince Ng to waive extradition for trial, saying he had a better chance of a fair trial in the United States than in Malaysia.

“These big cases are tough and they’re tough to win,” Agnifilo told reporters.

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 in 2020 paid a fine of nearly $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.

Agnifilo said Monday in his closing argument 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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Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; edited by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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