Ex-Goldman Sachs banker seeks mercy in 1MDB case

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng exits the United States Courthouse after being found guilty in Brooklyn, New York

By Shivani Tanna

(Reuters) - Roger Ng, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker convicted for helping to embezzle Malaysia's 1MDB sovereign wealth fund, appealed to a New York court on Saturday not to force him to spend more time in prison.

In anticipation of his sentencing hearing scheduled for March 9, Ng's lawyers asked the court to show mercy and to sentence him to the prison time he has already served in Malaysia.

Ng, Goldman's former head of investment banking in Malaysia, spent six months in a Malaysian prison before he was picked up by the U.S. authorities on Nov. 1, 2018, according to the court filing.

In October 2020, Goldman agreed to pay $2.9 billion and its Malaysian unit pleaded guilty to a corruption charge, to settle probes into the looting of billions of dollars from 1MDB and payment of bribes to win business for the Wall Street bank.

A federal jury in Brooklyn convicted Ng in April last year of conspiring to violate an anti-bribery law and commit money laundering. Ng faces up to 30 years in prison.

"Stripped of his dignity in a Malaysian prison, he has been made to be sick, afraid, alone and hopeless, and still suffers the debilitating effects of PTSD," the lawyers said while they asked the judge to allow him to return to Malaysia, where he is still subject to criminal charges related to the massive theft of Malaysian funds.

Reuters was not immediately able reach Malaysian prison officials to comment on the conditions.

Prosecutors said that he helped his former boss Tim Leissner embezzle money from the fund, launder the proceeds and bribe officials to win business for Goldman.

"Ng's role in the offense was minimal, and the only claim to the contrary was provided by Tim Leissner, who was patently incredible," the defense said in the court filing.

(Reporting by Shivani Tanna and Chandni Shah in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis)