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Ex Goldman Sachs banker sentenced to 10 years in prison for looting billions from Malaysia's 1MDB

On Thursday, former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng was given a 10-year prison sentence for his role in the theft of billions of dollars from Malaysia's 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.

A Brooklyn federal court jury found Ng, the former head of investment banking for Goldman Sachs in Malaysia, guilty in April of aiding his former boss Tim Leissner in embezzling money from the fund, laundering the proceeds, and bribing government officials to secure business.

The charges derive from approximately $6.5 billion in bonds that Goldman assisted 1MDB, a Malaysian development projects, to sell in 2012 and 2013.

In one of the largest scandals in Wall Street's history, officials, bankers, and their associates embezzled $4.5 billion, according to U.S. authorities. According to the Department of Justice, the funds were used to purchase luxury real estate, jewelry, and artwork, as well as finance the Hollywood blockbuster "The Wolf of Wall Street."

The incident also shook the politics of Malaysia. Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for taking $10 million from a former 1MDB unit.

Najib has always denied any wrongdoing.

In a filing submitted last week, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn urged Brodie to sentence Ng to 15 years in prison, describing him as a "deeply corrupt banker" and arguing that a harsh sentence was necessary to deter other financial professionals from bribing officials to secure business.

Prosecutors noted, "Foreign corruption undermines the public’s confidence in international markets and institutions. It destroys people’s faith in their leaders and it is deeply unfair to everybody else who plays by the rules."

In his own sentencing plea on February 25, Ng requested no prison sentence and permission to return to Malaysia. In 2018, after spending six months in a Malaysian prison, he waived his right to challenge his extradition to the United States.

Ng pled not guilty and argued that the $35 million in alleged kickback payments he received was actually a return on an investment made by his wife.

Leissner was the Southeast Asia chief for Goldman. He pleaded guilty and testified against Ng as part of a cooperation agreement. He has not been sentenced as of yet.

Jho Low, a Malaysian financier and the scheme's alleged mastermind, was indicted with Ng in 2018, but he remains at large. Malaysian officials claim Low is in China, but Beijing refutes this claim.

Goldman agreed to pay $2.9 billion and its Malaysian subsidiary pled guilty to a corruption charge in October 2020.



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