The former Malaysian head of Goldman Sachs will be imprisoned in the United States for his role in a massive financial corruption scheme. Roger Ng was sentenced to ten years in prison by a US judge after being convicted last year in a trial involving the theft of billions of dollars from the country’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.
Goldman was fined heavily as a result of the scandal, which rocked Malaysian politics.
He had denied the charges, which included bribery and money laundering.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2020 after being found guilty in the Malaysian 1MDB trial.
Ng had hoped to be released because he claimed he was a “fall guy” for bigger players.
Prosecutors, on the other hand, sought 15 years in prison for Ng, alleging that he was a key figure in a corruption scheme that diverted funds intended for infrastructure and economic development projects and instead used them for bribes and personal gain.
The charges against Ng stem from bond deals arranged by Goldman in 2012 and 2013 that raised $6.5 billion for the 1MDB fund, which was established to finance public development projects.
Authorities say more than $4.5bn was stolen and spent on art, diamonds and property – even helping to finance Hollywood film “Wolf of Wall Street”.
Prosecutors allege that Goldman Sachs bankers assisted in the laundering of some of the money, some of which was paid as bribes to officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi to help the bank win business.
Prosecutors said Ng was central to the scheme, introducing his Goldman boss, Tim Leissner, to Chinese-Malaysian financier Jho Low, the alleged mastermind and confidant of former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
According to the US Department of Justice, Ng, who worked for Goldman from 2005 to May 2014, received $35 million (£29 million) in kickbacks for his role.
“Roger Ng was a central player in a brazen and audacious scheme that not only victimized the people of Malaysia, but also risked undermining the public’s confidence in governments, markets, businesses and other institutions on a global scale,” said United States Attorney Breon Peace in a statement.
“Today’s sentence serves as a just punishment for the defendant’s crimes and a warning that there is a significant price to pay for corporate corruption.”
Ng’s attorneys had requested “mercy,” citing the six months he spent in Malaysian prison while awaiting extradition to the United States, as well as four years of house arrest.
His family also gave up money from 1MDB deals, among other things, they wrote.
“There can be no doubt that Mr Ng has suffered and has been punished every day since the day of his arrest,” they wrote, noting the toll the case has already taken on Ng’s mental health and family.
Goldman settled with the Malaysian government for $3.9 billion in 2020 for its role in the multibillion-dollar corruption scheme.
It also paid nearly $3 billion to four different governments to end an investigation into work it did for 1MDB.
In a plea agreement with the government in 2018, Leissner admitted to money laundering and bribery charges. He is currently awaiting sentencing after testifying against Ng at trial, which is expected to reduce his sentence.
Jho Low, who was indicted alongside Ng in 2018, is still at large.
(Adapted from BBC.com)