Mar 24, 2023
Ex-Goldman Banker Ng Must Forfeit $35.1 Million Over 1MDB
(Bloomberg) -- Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Roger Ng, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the global 1MDB fraud, was ordered to forfeit $35.1 million by a judge who rejected his claims that Malaysia already took all of his money.
At his March 9 sentencing, federal prosecutors had asked US District Judge Margo Brodie in Brooklyn, New York, to order Ng to forfeit the sum as ill-gotten gains from the conspiracy to loot the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund. Ng’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, argued that no other penalties were needed because his client had no money left.
Brodie declined, at the time, to immediately order forfeiture. But on Friday she said that under the law she is required to impose the penalty, and said the amount “is not constitutionally excessive.”
Agnifilo said in a statement, “we are appealing several issues, including the court’s recent forfeiture ruling. Nothing has shaken our belief in Mr. Ng’s innocence and we will fight this as long as necessary.”
Read More: Ex-Goldman Banker Ng Says Malaysia Seized $35 Million US Wants
Ng, a 51-year-old Malaysian national, was convicted 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 is scheduled to be sentenced in September.
On March 3, Brodie ordered Leissner to forfeit $43.7 million in cash as well as 3.3 million shares, valued at $300 million Friday, in fitness drink company Celsius Holdings Inc.
While Ng argued he was less culpable than Leissner or Jho Low, the Malaysian financier who the US said masterminded the fraud, Brodie rejected his arguments, saying he “willfully engaged” in the multibillion-dollar scheme.
“Even if Ng is less responsible that the others charged with similar offenses, he played a role in one of the largest financial crimes of all time,” she said in her ruling. “The scheme resulted in enormous tangible harm, i.e., the theft of $3 billion, and intangible harm to the confidence in democracy and government.”
Agnifilo had argued that Malaysian authorities had seized all of Ng’s assets and accounts and those of family members before he was arrested on US charges in late 2018.
Brodie turned down that argument.
“Ng has failed to show that forfeiture would destroy his future livelihood,” the judge said. “The fact that he already paid a large sum to the Malaysian government does not, on its own, render the forfeiture amount constitutionally excessive.”
The case is US v. Ng, 18-cr-538, US District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
(Adds comment from Ng’s lawyer in fourth paragraph.)
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