US jury convicts ex-Goldman banker in 1MDB scandal
Former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng (right), shown here with his lawyer Marc Agnifilo, was convicted in the 1MDB bribery scandal(AFP)

A New York jury on Friday convicted a former Goldman Sachs banker for his role in propagating a massive bribery and money laundering scheme involving a state-owned Malaysian investment fund.

The jury found Roger Ng, a managing director at Goldman from 2005 to 2014, guilty on all three counts connected to the massive 1MDB bribery scheme, which involved the embezzlement of billions of dollars of funds originally raised by the investment bank.

The 1MDB fund was set up to promote the Malaysian economy, but was spectacularly looted in a scandal that roiled the country's politics and marred Goldman's reputation.

Ng and his co-conspirators paid more than $1 billion in bribes to government officials to secure three large bond transactions for Goldman with 1MDB, according to the US Department of Justice.

The conspirators laundered billions of dollars in funds from 1MDB, including some of the funds from the Goldman transactions.

Some of the money went to luxury items, such as a $51 million Jean-Michael Basquiat painting and millions of dollars in Hermes handbags, the Justice Department said.

The eight-week trial included testimony from Timothy Leissner, a former Goldman partner who has pleaded guilty in the case and testified at length on his role and that of Ng in the scheme.

Attorneys for Ng had argued that Leissner's testimony should be discounted in light of his plea and that Ng was a pawn in the larger conspiracy.

Ng faces up to a 30-year sentence following his conviction, a department spokesman said.

"Today's verdict is a victory for not only the rule of law, but also for the people of Malaysia for whom the fund was supposed to help," US Attorney Breon Peace said.

"With today's verdict, a powerful message has been delivered to those who commit financial crimes motivated by greed," Peace said. "You will be caught, prosecuted and convicted, like Ng, and face a long prison sentence."

The Goldman Sachs bond deals raised $6.5 billion, yielding the prestigious New York investment bank $600 million in fees and revenue, while Ng garnered some $35 million in kickbacks, the Justice Department said.

In October 2020, Goldman agreed to pay $2.9 billion in penalties in a DOJ settlement that included a guilty plea in US court by a Malaysian unit of the bank.