Roger Ng, one of the central figures of the Goldman Sachs 1MDB scandal, was found guilty Friday by a federal jury of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and commit money laundering.
The conviction of Ng follows an eight-week trial, during which the former Goldman Sachs managing director tried to distance himself from the actions of his alleged co-conspirators, namely former Goldman partner Tim Leissner and Malaysian financier Jho Low. Leissner in 2018 pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the FCPA and launder money and is still awaiting sentencing, while Low remains a fugitive.
Leissner, who was ordered to forfeit $43.7 million as part of his guilty plea, served as a witness for the government during the Ng trial.
The ramifications of the 1MDB scandal are well-known, with Goldman Sachs in October 2020 reaching a $2.9 billion global settlement to resolve its liability in the matter. 1MDB was created by the government of Malaysia to promote economic development in the country through global partnerships and foreign direct investment, and its funds were intended to be used for improving the well-being of the Malaysian people. Instead, billions of dollars were stolen from it.
Ng, of Malaysia, acted as an agent and employee of Goldman Sachs from approximately 2005 to May 2014. He and his co-conspirators were accused of paying bribes to foreign officials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates and circumventing internal accounting controls at the bank in violation of the FCPA.
Ng received $35 million for his role in the bribery and money laundering scheme, according to the Department of Justice.
“Today’s verdict is a resounding victory for justice and for the people of Malaysia who are the victims of this massive scheme carried out in a frenzy of greed by the defendant and his co-conspirators to get rich by stealing millions of dollars from the 1MDB fund intended to benefit that country’s economy,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York in a press release. “The Department of Justice and this office are committed to addressing corporate culture by vigorously combating white-collar crime and holding corrupt individuals accountable for violating U.S. laws here and abroad in order to enrich themselves.”
Goldman Sachs in October 2020 announced it would seek clawbacks from Ng and Leissner, among others, for their roles in the scandal. Overall, the bank has paid more than $5 billion in penalties related to 1MDB.