Roger Ng took a gamble with US trial at lawyer’s urging

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Former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng was in a squalid prison in Malaysia for his role in the multibillion-dollar 1MDB scandal when his New York lawyer gave him a way out.

He persuaded Ng to come to the United States first for trial, rather than wait for the completion of the case in his native Malaysia. He did, and lived in New York free on bond for almost three years.

On Friday, Ng was convicted of conspiring to violate anti-bribery laws and launder money and now faces a possible 30 years in prison.

“I told him you’d be far better off in the United States, where we have a real system and a real trial,” defence lawyer Marc Agnifilo said after the verdict. “I’ve rethought that decision ten thousand times.”

It took its toll. Agnifilo said his client last saw his daughter Victoria when she was six years old, after Malaysia barred Ng’s wife, Lim Hwee Bin, from leaving the country.

Lim was allowed to leave only for the New York trial, after the US gave her a “safe passage” letter agreeing not to prosecute her. She testified in her husband’s defence.

1MDB “is a personal disaster in the life of that family,” Agnifilo said.

Ng, the former Goldman Sachs head of investment banking in Malaysia, had been locked up for six months in Kuala Lumpur when he agreed to waive an extradition fight and travel to Brooklyn in US custody.

Bloomberg

On his arrival, he was released on a US$20 million bond and had to wear an electronic ankle bracelet to track him while he awaited trial. Following the verdict Friday, he was allowed to remain free pending his sentencing.

Agnifilo, who vowed to challenge the conviction, said he and Ng’s lawyers in Malaysia are coordinating their efforts on his next legal steps.

“I have faith in our system, because I’m from here,” he said. “I think he still does, even though he’s not from here.”


Earlier reports:

Apr 9, Roger Ng convicted of bribery, money laundering charges in 1MDB case

Apr 6, Jury wants to review testimony of Roger Ng’s wife

Apr 5, Roger Ng joined 1MDB scam for ‘glory and greed’

Apr 5, Prosecutor urges Roger Ng’s conviction

Mar 31, Roger Ng’s wife: The truth will save my husband

Mar 29, Roger Ng’s wife testifies at US 1MDB trial

Mar 25, Defence witness: Roger Ng left out at key meetings in 1MDB fraud

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