A Federal court in Brooklyn has found former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng who also financed ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ guilty in the 1MDB Scandal.
Roger Ng, the former head of investment banking for Goldman Sachs in Malaysia, was found guilty of bribery and corruption in connection with the theft of $4.5 billion from the state investment fund 1MDB. Following a two-month trial in federal court in Brooklyn, the banker was found guilty on Friday.
Despite the fact that several others were involved in the scheme, including the alleged mastermind, Malaysian financier Jho Low, Ng was the only Goldman Sachs banker to face charges, pleading not guilty to conspiracy to launder money and two counts of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. While his lawyers concede that the heist was “perhaps the single largest heist in the history of the world,” they claim that American prosecutors used Ng as a scapegoat for the crimes of others who testified to the government, namely fellow Goldman banker Tim Leissner.
Ng and his co-conspirators syphoned $4.5 billion from 1MDB’s $6.5 billion in bond sales into bribes, kickbacks, and a flurry of luxury expenditures. They bought a $200 million yatch, jewelry, art and real estate and bankrolled crazy parties and even invested in the 2013 Leo DiCaprio film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ which is about an investment banker who financed his extravagant lifestyle by scamming affluent customers.
In his final remarks, Ng’s defence lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, said that Ng “is basically the fall guy for this whole thing,” adding that “Tim Leissner is looking to close the biggest deal of his life.” The attorney stated that Leissner, Ng’s former Goldman boss, “never stopped lying ever, and he didn’t stop lying in this courtroom,” claiming that the banker fraudulently implicated Ng and made up stories to curry favour with the government.
Leissner agreed to testify against Ng in exchange for $43.7 million in restitution and a guilty plea to paying millions of dollars in bribes to Malaysian and Abu Dhabi government officials. During the trial, he explained how he, Ng, and Low used offshore accounts and shell businesses, as well as bogus bank contracts, to “disguise[ the] flow of funds” out of 1MDB. “If we told any bank the truth, it wouldn’t work,” the acknowledged fraudster said, adding that Ng had expressed delight that he was “going to be paid some money,” believing he had been underpaid by Goldman over the years.
Low diverted billions in stolen money out of the fund after every Goldman bond deal, funnelling the money to co-conspirators such former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his stepson, according to the prosecution. Low spent millions of dollars on expensive parties and gambling, while Leissner married numerous women at once and bought them properties when they threatened to report his fraud to the authorities.
The 1MDB scandal brought down Malaysia’s government in 2018, and Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison for abuse of authority and other offences. The first time the infamous investment bank had ever pled guilty, an unit of Goldman Sachs admitted it had colluded to break US anti-bribery rules and was ordered to pay over $5 billion in fines for its role in the scandal.
Ng, who profited $3 million from two of the bond sales, could face a sentence of up to 30 years in prison. Low, who is said to have profited $1.42 billion from the scheme, is still at large.