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Ex-Goldman banker Ng deserves 15 years in prison, US prosecutors say

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

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors on Friday urged a judge to sentence former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng to 15 years in prison after he was convicted of helping loot billions of dollars from Malaysia's 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.

A jury in Brooklyn federal court had last April found Ng, Goldman's former head of investment banking in Malaysia, guilty of helping his former boss Tim Leissner embezzle money from the fund, launder the proceeds and bribe government officials to win business.

Leissner had been Goldman's Southeast Asia chief.

U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie is expected to sentence Ng on March 9.

In his own sentencing request on Feb. 25, Ng asked that he be given no prison time and be allowed to return to Malaysia.

He had spent six months in a Malaysian prison before waiving his right to contest extradition to the United States in 2018. Ng has been free on bail but subject to a curfew since his conviction.

The charges stem from some $6.5 billion in bonds that Goldman helped 1MDB, which was founded to finance development projects in Malaysia, sell in 2012 and 2013.

Prosecutors said $4.5 billion of that sum was embezzled by officials, bankers and their associates, in one of the biggest scandals in Wall Street history.

In October 2020, Goldman agreed to pay $2.9 billion and its Malaysian unit pleaded guilty to a corruption charge.

Ng had pleaded not guilty, and argued that $35 million in kickback payments he was accused of receiving was actually a return on an investment his wife had made.

Leissner pleaded guilty and testified against Ng as part of a cooperation agreement. He has not yet been sentenced.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Additional reporting by Anirudh Saligrama in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis)