Ex-Goldman banker Roger Ng convicted in $4.5bn 1MDB fraud case
Roger Ng, the only Goldman Sachs banker to be tried over the $4.5 billion embezzlement scheme that ransacked a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, was convicted on Friday of violating federal anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws.
Prosecutors say Roger Ng, Goldman’s former top investment banker for Malaysia, helped his former boss Tim Leissner embezzle money from the fund – which was set up to pursue development projects in the Southeast Asian country – laundering the proceeds and officials bribe to win business for Goldman.
The Brooklyn federal jury began deliberating on Tuesday.
Ng, 49, could face a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted as one of the alleged co-conspirators who helped steal $4.5 billion from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
Ng, who pleaded not guilty, was accused of using his position at Goldman to raise $6.5 billion for the fund by selling bonds – only to then loot $4.5 billion and to pass on the ill-gotten gains to himself and his employees through bribes and kickbacks.
“The damage to the people of Malaysia is immeasurable,” prosecutor Alixandra Smith said during closing arguments. “It’s deeply unfair to everyone else who’s playing by the rules.”
But Ng’s lawyers have claimed their client is being made a scapegoat, while his former colleague at Goldman, Tim Leissner, has pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Ng in court for a lighter sentence.
“Roger is basically the scapegoat for this whole thing,” attorney Marc Agnifilo said. “And Tim Leissner wants to make the biggest deal of his life.”
Ng, Leissner and Malaysian financier Jho Low – who is now on the run from the law – were all implicated in the alleged scheme to defraud 1MDB, prosecutors said.
During several days on the witness stand, Leissner testified that he, Ng and Low used offshore accounts and shell companies to “obscure the flow of money.”
Money-laundering efforts also included forged contracts with banks, he said.
Leissner testified that he received more than $60 million from Low. The money was funneled to accounts controlled by his then-wife, Judy Chan Leissner.
Leissner, the estranged husband of reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons, told jurors last month he sent Ng $35.1 million through the shell company founded by Ng’s wife Hwee Bin Lim.
The trial made sensational headlines about Leissner’s lavish lifestyle.
While standing on the witness stand, Leissner addressed the defense’s claim that he was a “double bigamist” — admitting that he twice “faked” women divorces in order to marry others while still legally married.
Leissner has admitted to having multiple affairs and previously described an episode in which a former lover allegedly blackmailed him into buying her a $10 million mansion after she threatened to marry Simmons, his future and current estranged wife to unveil the tryst.
With mail wires
https://nypost.com/2022/04/08/ex-goldman-banker-roger-ng-convicted-in-4-5b-1mdb-fraud-case/ Ex-Goldman banker Roger Ng convicted in $4.5bn 1MDB fraud case