Author: Niall Hearty 22 March 2023
Niall Hearty, of financial crime specialists Rahman Ravelli, assesses the case.
Former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng has been sentenced to ten years in prison for his role in a scheme to steal billions from the Malaysian development fund, 1MDB.
Sentencing Ng, who had been Goldman Sachs’ head of investment banking in Malaysia, US District Judge Margo Brodie said the banker had been involved in “one of the biggest financial crimes in the history of the world”.
Ng, who plans to file an appeal, was found guilty last April. The eight-week trial had heard how he played a part in a scheme to steal billions of dollars from 1MDB, which was meant to develop infrastructure in Malaysia.
Prosecutors accused Ng of working with his former boss, Tim Leissner, and Jho Low, the Malaysian financier and alleged architect of the 1MDB scheme, to circumvent Goldman Sachs’ due diligence processes to embezzle money from the fund and launder the proceeds. This was done by obscuring Low’s role in the 1MDB bond deals that the bank underwrote and earned $600 million in fees for. Leissner, who had pleaded guilty in November 2018, was the main prosecution witness against Ng.
Ng’s sentence includes five years for each of two counts of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, to be served concurrently, and an additional five years for conspiring to commit money laundering. Leissner is set to be sentenced in September. Low, who has denied wrongdoing, remains at large. Ng still faces criminal prosecution in Malaysia.
In sentencing Ng to 10 years in prison, the US federal court was sending a clear message that the type of greed and criminality that created one of the largest financial crimes in history needed to be punished. Interestingly, however, Ng maintained his innocence.
Despite the enormity of the scandal, Ng remains the only banker to be tried and convicted for their involvement in what happened.
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