Prosecutors say Roger Ng, Goldman's former top investment banker for Malaysia, helped his former boss Tim Leissner embezzle money from the fund and bribe officials to win business for Goldman.
A former Goldman Sachs banker has been convicted of bribery and other corruption charges in connection with the looting of the Malaysian state investment fund known as 1MDB.
A jury reached the verdict at the US trial of Roger Ng in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday.
A former head of investment banking in Malaysia, Ng is the only Goldman banker to stand trial in the 1MDB scandal.
The 49-year-old had pleaded not guilty to three counts – conspiring to launder money and violating two anti-bribery laws.
Prosecutors alleged that Ng and other Goldman Sachs bankers helped 1MDB raise $6.5 billion through bond sales – only to divert $4.5 billion of it to themselves and their co-conspirators through bribes and kickbacks.
“The harm to the people of Malaysia is immeasurable,” prosecutor Alixandra Smith said during closing arguments. “It is deeply unfair to everyone else who plays by the rules.”
Is Roger Ng 'the fall guy'?
Jurors heard nearly two months of evidence about tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks allegedly orchestrated by Malaysian financier and fugitive socialite Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low.
The embezzlement bankrolled lavish spending on jewels, art, a superyacht and luxury real estate.
The spoils even helped finance wild parties and Hollywood movies, including the 2013 Martin Scorsese film “The Wolf of Wall Street” that starred Leonardo DiCaprio.
Ng’s defence attorneys have described the looting of 1MDB state investment fund as “perhaps the single largest heist in the history of the world.” But they contend US prosecutors scapegoated Ng for crimes committed by others, including the government’s star witness, Tim Leissner.
“Roger is basically the fall guy for this whole thing,” attorney Marc Agnifilo said. “And Tim Leissner is looking to close the biggest deal of his life.”
Agnifilo accused Leissner, a higher-ranking Goldman banker, of falsely implicating Ng in a bid for leniency in his own criminal case.
Leissner, 52, pleaded guilty in 2018 to paying millions of dollars in bribes to government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi. He was ordered to forfeit $43.7 million as part of his guilty plea and agreed to testify against Ng.