Ex-Goldman banker Ng seeks celebrity prison for 1MDB fraud

ROGER Ng, the only Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker tried and convicted in the global 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, asked a judge to let him serve his 10-year prison term in Danbury, Connecticut — the same facility where hotel magnate Leona Helmsley was imprisoned for tax evasion in the early 1990s.

Ng’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo asked US District Judge Margo Brodie in a letter that she recommend the “lowest-possible designation” at the low-security federal prison for his client. Ng requires mental health treatment because he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after he was jailed in squalid Malaysian prison for six months before being extradited to the US for trial, Agnifilo wrote.

The federal institution is about 55 miles (90km) from New York City and served as the inspiration for the women’s prison in Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black. Among those who served time there were reality TV star Teresa Giudice and singer Lauryn Hill. Ghislaine Maxwell had also asked to serve her 20-year sentence for sex-trafficking in Danbury, but was instead sent to a Florida prison.

Ng, 51, a Malaysian national, was convicted in April of conspiring to violate US anti-bribery laws and taking part in a money-laundering scheme. His former Goldman boss and 1MDB co-conspirator, Tim Leissner, previously pleaded guilty and was the government’s star witness against Ng. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in September.

The looting of billions of dollars from the 1MDB fund was allegedly masterminded by Jho Low, a Malaysian financier who’s now a fugitive. He’s accused of paying tens of millions of dollars to officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi to clinch bond deals arranged by Goldman, while pocketing US$1.42 billion.

The case is US v. Ng, 18-cr-538, US District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). – BLOOMBERG