Former Goldman banker must forfeit $35.1 million in 1MDB corruption case

FILE PHOTO: Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng sentenced for his part helping embezzle from Malaysia's 1MDB sovereign wealth fund in Brooklyn, New York

By Jonathan Stempel and Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday ordered former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker Roger Ng to forfeit $35.1 million, after sentencing him to 10 years in prison for helping loot billions of dollars from Malaysia's 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.

U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie in Brooklyn rejected Ng's argument that he owned no more money after forfeiting to Malaysia tens of millions of dollars of alleged proceeds from his crimes.

Ng's lawyer Marc Agnifilo also said his client, a Malaysian national and Goldman's former head of investment banking in Malaysia, had been drained of most of his assets.

Brodie, however, said the $35.1 million forfeiture was not constitutionally excessive.

She also said that even if Ng were less culpable than others, "he played a role in one of the largest financial crimes of all time," a scheme that caused "intangible harm to the public's confidence in democracy and government."

Agnifilo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Brodie imposed Ng's prison sentence on March 9, 11 months after jurors found him guilty of helping his former boss Tim Leissner embezzle money from 1MDB, launder the proceeds, and bribe government officials to win business.

Jho Low, a Malaysian financier and suspected mastermind of the scheme, was also indicted but remains at large.

Leissner faces a Sept. 6 sentencing. Goldman settled with authorities in October 2020, agreeing to pay $2.9 billion and having its Malaysian unit plead guilty to a corruption charge.

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is serving a 12-year prison sentence after being convicted in a Malaysian court of receiving $10 million from a former 1MDB unit. Najib has consistently denied wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Richard Chang)