Roger Ng, an ex-Goldman Sachs banker, is most likely the only person who will be tried in the United States for his role in a scheme to steal billions from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
During a global fraud scandal, a former Goldman Sachs banker was found guilty Friday of bribery and money laundering. He was charged with taking more than $4 billion from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
federal jury found Roger Ng, a former banker who used to work for the government, guilty after a nearly two-month trial in which the government's main witness admitted to lying all the time. That doesn't mean that the jury didn't find Mr. Ng guilty of all three charges. They took more than two days to decide. He could spend up to 30 years in jail.
An attorney in New York says that the plan to steal money from a fund called 1MDB was "massive in scale" and "brazen" in how it was done.
For both the rule of law and Malaysians, "Today's verdict is a victory for both," Mr. Peace said. The fund was supposed to raise money so Malaysians could do things to improve their country's economy. "The defendant and his friends didn't see 1MDB as a way to help the people of Malaysia, but as a way to make money for them."
There hasn't been a set date for the sentencing yet. Marc Agnifilo, the lawyer for Mr. Ng, was not available to comment right away.
If the trial goes to trial, it will likely be the only one in the United States that comes out of the scandal. It started in mid-February in federal court in Brooklyn, New York. The stolen billions were used to live extravagant lives for powerful Malaysians, including the country's former prime minister. They bought paintings by van Gogh and Monet, bought luxury homes in London and Beverly Hills, and helped pay for the Hollywood movie "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Jho Low, a Malaysian businessman who spent a lot of money and was the brains behind the scheme, was indicted along with Mr. Ng. He is a fugitive and is thought to be living in China. Former Goldman partner Tim Leissner is set to be sentenced in July. He pleaded guilty to bribery and money laundering charges in 2018.
Mr. Low is accused of taking nearly $1 billion from a series of bond offerings that Goldman had set up for the 1MDB fund. This money was supposed to go to the fund. It was said that Mr. Leissner got more than $60 million in kickbacks, and that Mr. Ng got illegal money of about $35 million.
People who worked for Najib Razak and his family and for officials in Abu Dhabi have been accused of taking bribes for letting Goldman be the main underwriter on the bond deals. In the end, Mr. Najib was ousted from power and later was found guilty by a Malaysian court and sentenced to up to 12 years in prison.
When the trial started, it was very unusual. The federal prosecutors took a long time to give the defense important documents, which Mr. Ng's lawyers say made it hard for them to prepare their case and could be grounds for an appeal.
It also had testimony from a star witness who admitted to being a big liar. During the 10 days that Mr. Leissner was on the stand, he went through a lot of tough questioning from the judge. People at Goldman, his partners at Goldman, and his girlfriends and wives all found out that he had lied to them at first.
A long list of lies that Mr. Leissner had to admit when he took the stand was hard to believe at times, but he had to admit them all to the judge. He said that he was married to two women at the same time. "When I tried to get Kimora Lee Simmons to marry me I gave her a fake divorce decree," he said. "It was when I was trying to get Kimora to marry me." The couple, who have two children, are no longer together. And he said that while he was dating Ms. Simmons, he used a fake email account that he made in the name of his second wife, Judy Chan, to talk to her.
On the stand, Mr. Leissner was also asked about earlier statements that didn't match what he said in court. He said things that didn't match what he said in court. When he was asked, Mr. Leissner said he "lied a lot."
Leissner was "one of a kind" when it came to lying, and he couldn't be trusted to tell the truth about anything, even if he was involved in the bribery and kickback scheme. But prosecutors say that Mr. Leissner was telling the truth about the crimes that Mr. Ng was charged with, including a $35 million payment that the government said was an illegal kickback, which Mr. Leissner told them about.
Mr. Ng's wife, Hwee Bin Lim, told the court that the $35 million that she and her husband received came from a $6 million investment she made with Ms. Chan many years ago.
A few days into the trial, Mr. Agnifilo told the chief judge for the Eastern District of New York that he was considering asking for a mistrial because the government had not turned over tens of thousands of pages of Mr. Leissner's emails until after the trial had begun. He called this "government misconduct." Prosecutors called the delay "inexcusable," and they blamed it on a separate legal team that was supposed to look at documents for possible legal privilege issues.
In the end, Mr. Agnifilo decided not to ask for a mistrial. Legal experts say that the long delays could be used to argue for a new trial on appeal.
The trial was a rare case of a manager testifying against one of their subordinates. In high-profile corporate crime cases, witnesses who are key cooperators are often used to build cases against the most powerful people at a company. The federal government used Mr. Leissner's help to not only prove the charges against Mr. Ng, but also to build a case against his former employer.
Leissner helped Goldman Sachs' Malaysia subsidiary plead guilty to one charge of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This was the first time Goldman Sachs appeared in front of a U.S. judge and said it was guilty of a crime.
The bank agreed to pay $2.3 billion in fines to the federal government and billions more to other governments, including Malaysia. As part of a three-year deal with U.S. authorities, the bank also agreed not to be prosecuted.
Mr. Ng's trial didn't shed much light on the actions of other people at Goldman, but it did give information about how Goldman tried to hide Mr. Low's involvement in the three bond deals. They raised $6.5 billion for the fund and made $600 million in fees for Goldman, which is why they were worth it for them.
One of the three charges Mr. Ng was found guilty of was conspiring to break rules and controls at Goldman that are meant to stop people from paying bribes to people in other countries.
Prosecutors showed that Mr. Ng and Mr. Leissner often used their personal email accounts to communicate with each other, rather than their work email accounts. According to the people who said this, the two men threw away some emails after the scandal over the 1MDB fund became public in Asia.
In court, Mr. Leissner said that he and Mr. Ng were willing to pay the bribes because they knew that getting the bond deals for Goldman would be a big win for the bank and that they would be seen as "heroes" inside of the bank.
As part of its plea deal, Goldman agreed to a statement of facts that detailed a number of internal control flaws that should have caught the wrongdoing by its former employees, as well as Mr. Low's role in putting the deals together, according to the government.