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Former Goldman Sachs Banker, Roger Ng, Sent To 10-Year Prison Term In 1MDB Corruption Case

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Roger Ng, a former banker for Goldman Sachs, was found guilty of aiding in the theft of billions of dollars from Malaysia’s 1MDB national wealth fund and was given a 10-year prison term on Thursday.

Ng, the former head of investment banking for Goldman in Malaysia, was found guilty by a jury in federal court in the New York City borough of Brooklyn in April of aiding his former boss Tim Leissner in embezzling money from the fund, laundering the proceeds, and bribing officials to secure business.

The accusations originate from the $6.5 billion in bonds that Goldman assisted 1MDB in selling in 2012 and 2013, which were used to fund development projects in Malaysia.

In one instance, according to US prosecutors, officials, bankers, and their allies embezzled $4.5 billion of that total, in one of the most massive scams in the history of Wall Street. 

The Department of Justice claims that money was used to pay for luxury real estate, jewels, and artwork as well as to support the production of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a Hollywood movie.

Ng and his co-defendants “effectively stole money,” according to US District Judge Margo Brodie, who handed down the sentence. The money was intended for infrastructure and economic development initiatives to benefit the Malaysian people.

It is imperative to prevent offenses motivated solely by greed, according to Brodie.

Following the hearing, Ng’s attorney Marc Agnifilo informed reporters that Ng intends to appeal the verdict. The $35 million in kickback payments Ng was accused of receiving were truly returns on an investment his wife had made, according to his not guilty plea.

Malaysian politics have been shaken by the 1MDB controversy. A Malaysian judge found the former prime minister Najib Razak guilty of receiving $10 million from a former 1MDB unit, and he is currently serving a 12-year prison term. Consistently, Najib has rejected any wrongdoing.

Brodie was asked by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn to give Ng a 15-year prison term.

Breon Peace, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement following the sentence that the penalty would demonstrate “there is a significant price to pay for corporate corruption.”

Ng asked for no jail time and to be permitted to go back to Malaysia, where he had previously spent six months in prison with conditions that, according to Agnifilo, nearly killed him and damaged his mental state.

On Thursday, Ng told Brodie in court that he desired to return to Malaysia to take care of his ailing mother and be with his daughter.

Five years ago was the last time I cradled her in my arms, he remarked. “She was six then. She turns 11 this June.”

Although Ng’s separation from his daughter was “not a unique circumstance,” Brodie said she considers the effect of sentencing on children carefully.

Leissner oversaw Goldman’s operations in Southeast Asia. As part of a cooperation deal, he entered a guilty plea and provided evidence against Ng. He has not yet received a judgement.

Despite being charged alongside Ng in 2018, Malaysian financier Jho Low, who is thought to be the scheme’s mastermind, is still at large.

Goldman decided to pay $2.9 billion and entered a guilty plea to a charge of corruption in October 2020.

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