Federal prosecutors on Friday recommended a prison sentence of at least 15 years for former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng, who was convicted last April of conspiracy to bribe foreign officials and commit money laundering in connection with the 1MDB scandal.
Ng’s sentencing is set for Thursday.
Ng faces up to 30 years for his actions but filed his own sentencing memo Feb. 25 asking to be kept out of prison and to be allowed to return to Malaysia, where he also faces prosecution in a 1MDB case.
“The pending Malaysian criminal charges expeditiously should not take precedence over the need for the defendant to be appropriately sentenced in the United States,” prosecutor Alexandra Smith wrote in a filing Friday, according to Bloomberg.
Ng spent six months in a Malaysia prison before his 2019 extradition to the U.S. and has been under house arrest for the past four years. Taken alongside his upcoming Malaysia charges, that’s punishment enough, Ng told Judge Margo Brodie of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Ng’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, meanwhile, calculated the banker’s sentence range at between 97 and 121 months but argued Ng should be sentenced to time served.
Goldman Sachs netted roughly $600 million in fees in 2012 and 2013 for helping the Malaysian government raise $6.5 billion for the 1MDB economic development fund by selling bonds to investors. But about $4.5 billion of that was diverted. Prosecutors argued that Jho Low, the scheme’s still-at-large alleged mastermind, pocketed $1.42 billion. Prosecutors said Ng received $35 million in kickbacks, while his then-boss, Tim Leissner, received about $60 million.
Prosecutors on Friday asked Brodie to order Ng to forfeit $35.1 million, matching the alleged kickback total.
Brodie, for her part, ordered Leissner on Friday to forfeit $43.7 million in cash and 3.3 million shares in the fitness drink company Celsius in connection with his 1MDB case, Bloomberg reported.
Leissner, who pleaded guilty to foreign bribery and money laundering charges in August 2018, was the prosecution’s star witness at Ng’s trial. He’s been free on a $20 million bond since his June 2018 arrest but used 3.25 million Celsius shares as collateral.
The ownership of the Celsius shares has exacerbated the rift between Ng and Leissner. Ng sued Leissner in New York state court in November, alleging Leissner took Ng’s initial $1.25 million investment in Celsius. That investment grew to at least $130 million, Ng asserted.
The Celsius shares were being held at a JPMorgan account in Leissner’s ex-wife’s name, Brodie said Friday in her order.