Former Goldman Sachs banker who financed ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ found guilty — Analysis
Roger Ng, former head of Goldman Sachs investment banking in Malaysia for Goldman Sachs, has been found guilty of corruption and bribery related to $4.5 billion theft from 1MDB state investment fund. After a two month trial at Brooklyn Federal Court, the banker was found guilty.
Ng, the Goldman Sachs banker, was the sole one to be tried for conspiracy to launder and conspiring against the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. His defense attorneys acknowledged the theft. “perhaps the single largest heist in the history of the world,”The prosecutors claimed that Ng was made a scapegoat by American prosecutors for the crimes of other witnesses, including Tim Leissner (a Goldman banker).
Ng, along with his associates raised $6.5 million for 1MDB via bond sales. However, $4.5 billion was diverted from this huge sum into kickbacks and bribes. The ill-gotten profits included a huge $200 million yacht and art and jewelry. They also bankrolled extravagant parties and even invested in the Leo DiCaprio movie 2013. “Wolf on Wall Street” – itself the story of an investment banker who financed his lavish lifestyle by defrauding wealthy clients.
Ng “is basically the fall guy for this whole thing,” his defense lawyer Marc Agnifilo declared in his closing arguments, adding that “Tim Leissner is looking to close the biggest deal of his life.” Leissner, who was Ng’s boss at Goldman, “never stopped lying ever, and he didn’t stop lying in this courtroom,”The attorney asserted that Ng had been falsely implicated by the banker and had made up stories in order to curry favor with government officials.
Leissner agreed to be a witness against Ng. He forfeited $43.7million and pleaded guilty to paying millions in bribes for government officials in Malaysia, Abu Dhabi and Malaysia. He described the relationship between Low and Ng during his trial. “disguise[d] the flow of funds”1MDB has offshore accounts, shell companies and fake bank contracts. “If we told any bank the truth, it wouldn’t work,”Ng testified that he had expressed his happiness about being a fraudster. “going to be paid some money,”He believed that he was not being paid enough by Goldman throughout his career.
Low stole billions from the Goldman Bond fund, diverting it to the bank after each Goldman bond deal. He then funneled the funds to his accomplices, Najib Razak (former Malaysian PM) and his stepson. Low’s extravagant spending attracted government attention. He spent millions on parties and gambling while Leissner got married to multiple women simultaneously, purchasing their houses after they threatened to expose his fraud to police.
In 2018, the Malaysian government was overthrown by 1MDB, sending Najib into 12 year imprisonment for power abuse and other criminal acts. One subsidiary of Goldman Sachs admitted it conspired against US anti-bribery law. This was the first time that the notorious investment bank has ever pleaded guilty to the crime and was required to pay more than $5 billion in fines.
Ng made $3million from the two bond agreements and could spend up to 30 years prison. Low, who is alleged to have taken home $1.42billion from the scheme, still remains at large.
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