Ex-Goldman Banker Jury Asks for Wife’s Testimony in 1MDB Case

Jurors’ request comes shortly after the start of deliberations

by BLOOMBERG

THE jury in the 1MDB conspiracy case against former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng (picture) has asked to review testimony from his wife that the defense says is key to its case.

After seven weeks of testimony in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, the jurors deciding the fate of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s former head of investment banking in Malaysia made the request soon after they began their deliberations on Tuesday afternoon.

Ng’s wife, Hwee Bin Lim, testified last week on his behalf that a $35.1 million infusion of capital into a shell company she controlled wasn’t a kickback for her husband in the 1MDB scheme, but was from an unrelated, legitimate business transaction.

Ng is accused of conspiring to violate U.S. anti-bribery laws and launder money in a plot to steal billions of dollars from the sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Ng is the only Goldman banker to go to trial in a case that saw the firm pay more than $5 billion in global penalties and its Malaysian unit plead guilty – one of the biggest blows to Goldman in its history. Prosecutors called him a critical player in a bribe-paying and money-laundering scheme masterminded by Malaysian financier Jho Low, in which $2.7 billion was siphoned from the fund. Goldman arranged bond deals for 1MDB.

The trial, which began with opening statements on Feb. 14, featured Ng’s former boss, Tim Leissner, as the government’s star witness. Leissner pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the U.S., for which he could win leniency at sentencing. Low alone collected at least $1.42 billion from the fraud, while he paid Ng $35.1 million in kickbacks and Leissner received more than $60 million, according to the U.S.

Ng, 49, faces as many as 30 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Leissner, who was Goldman’s Southeast Asia chairman, was the highest-ranking Goldman banker to plead guilty to the scheme to plunder 1MDB.

Low, who the U.S. says bribed government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi to win the business for Goldman, is at large. Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was convicted in Malaysia in 2020 on charges including money laundering and corruption and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He is appealing.

The jury went home at about 5 p.m. after requesting Lim’s testimony. The jurors will resume deliberations Wednesday morning.

The case is U.S. v. Low Taek Jho, 18-cr-538, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).