Ex-Goldman banker Roger Ng should get 15 years for 1MDB, say US prosecutors

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 04 Mar 2023

NEW YORK: Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Roger Ng, the only employee of the bank to be tried and convicted over the global 1MDB scandal, should be sentenced to a term of at least 15 years in prison, federal prosecutors said.

In a sentencing recommendation filed Friday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, said Ng’s crimes merited a substantial term of imprisonment. He was convicted in April of conspiring to bribe foreign officials and launder money in the looting of the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

Ng, 51, last week filed his own sentencing recommendation asking the judge to spare him from prison. The former Goldman managing director said the six months he spent in a Malaysian prison before being extradited to the US in 2019 and his four years of house arrest since then were punishment enough.

The US disagreed in Friday’s filing.

"The pending Malaysian criminal charges expeditiously should not take precedence over the need for the defendant to be appropriately sentenced in the United States,” prosecutor Alixandra Smith wrote.

US District Judge Margo Brodie is scheduled to sentence Ng on March 9.

A federal jury found that Ng conspired with his former boss, onetime Goldman Southeast Asia head Tim Leissner, and financier Jho Low to bribe officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi to facilitate 1MDB bond deals that allowed Low to steal US$1.42bil.

Leissner pleaded guilty to 1MDB charges and was the star prosecution witness against Ng. Low remains a fugitive.

The judge earlier on Friday ordered Leissner to forfeit US$43.7mil as well as 3.3 million shares in the fitness-drink company Celsius Holdings Inc.

Goldman in 2020 admitted to its role in the foreign bribery scheme and paid more than US$2.3bil in the plea deal, with its Malaysian unit pleading guilty to a single conspiracy charge. Goldman’s penalty was the latest in US history for a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. - Bloomberg

The case is US v Ng, 18-cr-538, US District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

--With assistance from Robert Burnson.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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