A former Goldman Sachs banker should be convicted for helping loot billions of dollars from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB and causing “immeasurable” damage, a US prosecutor told jurors in her closing argument on Monday.
But a lawyer for the defendant Roger Ng, Goldman’s former top investment banker for Malaysia, countered that Ng was falsely implicated in the looting by his former boss Tim Leissner, the government’s key witness.
Ng, 49, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to launder money and violating an anti-corruption law.
Prosecutors said he helped Leissner embezzle hundreds of millions of dollars, launder the proceeds and bribe officials to win business for Goldman.
Assistant US Attorney Alixandra Smith said Ng received more than $35 million in kickbacks from the “brazen” bribery and money laundering scheme and must be held accountable.
“The damage to the people of Malaysia is immeasurable,” she said. “It’s deeply unfair to everyone else who’s playing by the rules.”
Ng’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, said during his closing arguments that there was “no evidence” of his client’s guilt.
Agnifilo instead charged Leissner, 52, who pleaded guilty to similar charges as Ng and who the defense believes was cooperating with prosecutors in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence.
“He never stopped lying, and he didn’t stop lying in this courtroom,” Agnifilo said, referring to Leissner.
The nearly two-month trial stemmed from one of the biggest financial scandals in history.
Prosecutors said Goldman helped 1MDB raise $6.5 billion through three bond sales, but that $4.5 billion was diverted through bribes and kickbacks to government officials, bankers and their employees.
Ng is the first and likely only person to face trial in the United States over the plan. Goldman paid a nearly $3 billion fine in 2020 and its Malaysian unit agreed to plead guilty.
Agnifilo said Ng introduced Leissner to Malaysian financier Jho Low, the alleged mastermind of the scheme. He remains at large.
Smith acknowledged that Leissner was seeking leniency by testifying, but said other witness testimonies supported his story.
“What he has told you about the crimes he committed with the defendant and others is supported by and consistent with other evidence,” Smith said. “You already know from the other evidence that the defendant is guilty.”
Leissner testified that he sent Ng $35 million in bribes, with the men agreeing to tell the banks handling the transfers a “cover story” that the money came from a legitimate business venture between their wives. Continue reading
Ng’s wife Hwee Bin Lim testified last week that she invested $6 million in a Chinese company owned by the family of Leissner’s then-wife Judy Chan in the mid-2000s.
She said the alleged $35 million in kickbacks to her husband is actually her return on that investment.
Low was charged alongside Ng in 2018. Malaysian authorities say Low is in China, which Beijing denies.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/04/closing-arguments-heard-in-ex-goldman-banker-roger-ng-trial/ Closing arguments in the trial of ex-Goldman banker Roger Ng