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US Jury Finds Ex-Goldman Banker Guilty in 1MDB Case

A US jury found Roger Ng guilty on all charges in the trial over the looting of billions of dollars from Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng
Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng and his lawyer Marc Agnifilo leave federal court in New York. Photo: Reuters


The former head of Goldman Sachs in Malaysia has been convicted for helping to orchestrate one of the world’s biggest financial corruption scandals.

A US jury found Roger Ng guilty on all charges in the trial over the looting of billions of dollars from Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.

He is the only Goldman banker to face a jury over the scandal, which rocked Malaysian politics and forced the bank to pay billions in fines.

Prosecutors said Ng, Goldman’s former top investment banker for Malaysia, helped his former boss Tim Leissner embezzle money from the fund, launder the proceeds and bribe officials to win business for Goldman.

Ng, 49, pleaded not guilty to conspiring to launder money and violating an anti-corruption law.

His lawyers said Leissner, who pleaded guilty to similar charges in 2018 and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors’ investigation, falsely implicated Ng in the hopes of receiving a lenient sentence.

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 that $4.5 billion was diverted to government officials, bankers and their associates through bribes and kickbacks between 2009 and 2015.

Ng is the first, and likely only, person to face trial in the US over the scheme. Goldman in 2020 paid a nearly $3 billion fine and its Malaysian unit agreed to plead guilty.

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

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

Ng’s wife, Hwee Bin Lim, later testified for the defence 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 then-wife, Judy Chan, and that the $35 million was her return on that investment.

Ng’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, said in his closing argument on Monday that Leissner could not be trusted. Alixandra Smith, a prosecutor, said in her summation that Leissner’s testimony was backed up by other evidence.

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


  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell




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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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