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Ex-Goldman banker Roger Ng found guilty in 1MDB fraud trial

A US jury has convicted former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng in connection with the multibillion-dollar embezzlement of 1 MDB, giving prosecutors a high-profile victory in a scandal stretching from Malaysia and Singapore to Wall Street has resonated.

After a nearly two-month trial and four days of deliberations, jurors on Friday found Ng, 49, guilty of all three counts in the case, including conspiracy to violate US anti-corruption laws and conspiracy to launder money. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

The conviction is a milestone for US authorities, which have spent years filing a case related to the fraud in which the US Department of Justice alleges $4.5 billion was embezzled from Malaysia’s state investment fund.

“The verdict has been reached: Roger Ng is guilty, convicted on all three counts,” the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said on its official Twitter account.

Ng, his former boss Tim Leissner and Malaysian financier Yeh low, were all indicted by the DoJ. Leissner has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing, while Low has pleaded innocent and remains at large.

The government argued that Ng was a crucial link to 1MDB and Low.

A former head of investment banking at Goldman in Malaysia and later as a member of the securities department in Asia, Ng was involved in the bank’s execution of 1MDB bond deals.

The Wall Street bank arranged three transactions in 2012 and 2013, raising approximately $6.5 billion.

The stolen funds were used to buy and even finance expensive art, luxury real estate The Wolf of Wall Streetthe Oscar-nominated film, among other things, about financial misconduct.

The government charged Ng, who did not testify during his trial, with pocketing about $35 million in stolen 1MDB funds and trying to cover his tracks by deleting entire email accounts.

Marc Agnifilo, Ng’s attorney, argued that his client had nothing to do with the payment, which he said was linked to an independent investment in which his wife was involved.

The process was punctuated by a tense showdown between Ng and Leissner, a former Goldman partner who pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to launder money and violation of foreign bribery laws in connection with 1MDB. Leissner then became the government’s key witness in Ng’s trial.

Leissner signed a cooperation agreement with the US authorities in the hope of a lighter sentence. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

Throughout the trial, Agnifilo told the jury that apart from Leissner’s testimony, which he said contained inaccuracies, there was no evidence linking Ng to the 1MDB scam. He repeatedly questioned Leissner’s credibility, calling him a “unique” liar and cataloging falsehoods Leissner told his partners, Goldman and US authorities.

Goldman, which raked in more than $600 million in fees from 1MDB’s bond deals, said it was lied to by “certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB.”

The bank settled up to US$3.9 billion with Malaysia and paid a record US$2.9 billion in a global settlement in 2020. Its Malaysian subsidiary pleaded guilty to bribery charges.

https://www.ft.com/content/ec5736a7-fdb9-4e15-a7e7-65e96ef87a44 Ex-Goldman banker Roger Ng found guilty in 1MDB fraud trial

Adam Bradshaw

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