Former Goldman Banker convicted of embezzling billions from Malaysian funds

A former Goldman Sachs banker was convicted on Friday of bribery and money laundering in the wake of one of the largest global cryptocurrency cases in history: the looting of billions of dollars in Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund.

A federal jury convicted Roger Ng, a former banker, after a nearly two-month trial that was delayed by several days because federal prosecutors were slow to return potentially critical documents to the defendant and acknowledged the government’s key co-witness was a frequent liar, both business and personal. .

After more than two days of deliberations, the judges found Mr. NG guilty of all three charges. He could face up to 30 years in prison.

The trial, which began in federal court in Brooklyn in mid-February, could be the only criminal trial in the United States over a scandal known as the Malaysian Fund 1MDB. More than $ 4 billion in theft has been used to finance luxurious lives for powerful Malaysians and others, to buy paintings by Van Gogh and Monet, to pay for luxury properties from London to Beverly Hills, and to fund the Hollywood movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

Joe Lo, a Malaysian large-scale businessman and architect of the scheme, was charged with aggravated robbery but is believed to be a fugitive and living in China. Tim Lesnar, a former Goldman partner and star witness to the government during the trial, is due to be sentenced this summer; He was convicted in 2018 of bribery and money laundering.

Mr. Low pocketed about $ 1 billion in funding from a series of bond offers that Goldman arranged for 1MDB funds. Mr Lesnar received more than $ 60 million in kickbacks, and prosecutors say Mr NG received $ 35 million in illicit money.

Federal prosecutors say others – including the former Malaysian prime minister and officials in Abu Dhabi – have received millions of dollars in bribes to persuade Goldman to become the main underwriter of the bond deal.

Mr Lesnar, a one-time rising star of Goldman Asia, was on standby for 10 days, including six days of a blistering cross-examination. While on the stand, Mr. Lesnar confessed to being a blatant liar: he was initially forced to confess to federal agents, to Goldman, his colleagues and his girlfriends and wives, including model and fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons. (The couple, who have two children, are separated.)

A lawyer for Mr NG told the jury in his closing remarks that Mr Lesnar could not be trusted to tell the truth about anything, including his involvement in the bribery and kickback scheme. But prosecutors say Mr Lesnar was telling the truth about the alleged crime against Mr NG, which included a $ 35 million payment that authorities said was an illegal kickback.

Mr Ng’s wife, Hui Bin Lim, testified that the $ 35 million she and her husband received was a $ 6 million return from an investment he made many years ago with Mr Lesnar’s second wife, Judy Chan.

Mr. Ng’s trial was an unusual example of a manager’s testimony against a subordinate. In the case of high-profile corporate crime, key associate witnesses are often used to make lawsuits against high-ranking officials of a firm. But in Mr. Lesnar’s case, his cooperation with federal prosecutors was used not only to prove the allegations against Mr. Ng, but also to create a criminal case against his former employer.

Mr Lesnar’s co-operation led Goldman Sachs’ Malaysian affiliate to plead guilty to a single charge of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act – the first instance of Goldman appearing before a US judge and pleading guilty to a felony.

The bank has agreed to pay $ 2.3 billion in fines to federal authorities and another বিল 1 billion to authorities in other countries, including Malaysia. The bank itself has entered into a three-year delayed prosecution agreement with US authorities.

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