Defence witness: Roger Ng left out at key meetings in 1MDB fraud

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker Roger Ng was not always included in meetings held by key players in the multibillion-dollar looting of 1MDB, according to testimony presented by his defence team.


Ng, the only Goldman banker to go to trial in the 1MDB scandal, is accused of plotting with his former boss, Tim Leissner, and fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, to pull off a fraud in which billions of dollars were siphoned from the sovereign wealth fund.

Leissner, who pleaded guilty and testified against Ng, said he collected more than US$60 million in kickbacks from Low and paid Ng more than US$35.1 million.

But as Ng’s lawyers began presenting his defence on Thursday, they tried to show that Leissner met multiple times with Low and others involved in the 1MDB fraud when Ng was not present.

“Please don’t tell Roger about our meeting with the friend,” Leissner wrote in a BlackBerry message to another Goldman banker in 2012 at a time when Leissner, Low and Ng were all in Hong Kong after one of the 1MDB bond transactions closed.

Shortly afterwards, an offshore account in the name of Leissner’s wife’s paid a US$2 million bribe to an adviser of then prime minister Najib Razak, records show.

The next day, Low and Leissner each flew to Las Vegas for a gala birthday bash, according to Katelyn Giesler, an assistant at the law firm of defence lawyer Teny Geragos. While Leissner was listed among Malaysian guests for Low’s event, Ng’s name was not, Giesler said.

Nor was Ng aboard a yacht on the Mediterranean chartered by Low in July 2013 when the financier presented Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, with a 22-carat pink diamond necklace purchased with 1MDB funds, Giesler testified.

Ng also did not join Leissner and Najib for dinner in San Tropez a few days later, she said, noting that records show he was not even in Europe at the time.

The prosecution rested its case earlier on Thursday after their final witness, an FBI agent, walked the jury through scores of emails and other records the government says show Ng conspired with Low.

The trial resumes on Monday. – FMT

Earlier reports:

Mar 25, Prosecution rests in Roger Ng trial

Mar 22, Roger Ng took US$35m via wife’s shell company in 1MDB heist

Mar 20, Roger Ng’s wife accused of being co-conspirator

Feb 15, Ex-Goldman banker Roger Ng allegedly got millions in 1MDB-linked kickback