Businesses face pressure to rethink Russia’s operations

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Businesses face pressure to rethink Russia’s operations

One of the largest international kleptocracy cases in history, the trial of the billions of dollars looted from Malaysia’s 1MDB Sovereign Wealth Fund, is in its final stages. Roger Ng, a former Goldman Sachs banker, is accused of aiding the scheme’s mastermind, Zoe Lo.

The proceedings have turned into a “she said, she said” case, reports Matt Goldstein of The Times, pitting Ng against another former Goldman banker, Tim Leisner, who has already pleaded guilty and who testified last week. ended 10 days. Goldman, which earned a $600 million fee for arranging bond deals for 1MDB, has also pleaded guilty on behalf of an Asian subsidiary and paid a fine of more than $5 billion.

Two more weeks are scheduled for Ng’s trial. Here’s the latest:

A quick recap: Malaysia established 1MDB in the late 2000s with Low as a consultant. Beginning in 2009, Goldman underwritten a series of bonds for a fund raising $6.5 billion for economic growth. Instead, much of the money was redirected by Lo and others close to the then Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has since been convicted in his home country and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Low is believed to be living in China, which is beyond the reach of US prosecutors.

What Leisner says: Goldman’s former top dealmaker in Asia said Ng Lo was the primary contact with the bank. Leisner said that Ng set up an important meeting with Low in which Low told bankers who to bribe Goldman to get bond deals.

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What ng says: Ng has not testified, but his lawyers have called Leisner a liar with sufficient evidence. Among other things, Leisner admitted to submitting fake divorce papers to his now-estranged wife and admitted that she “lied a lot.” Goldman also portrayed Leisner as a con man in his defense.

Experts Opinion: Leisner’s deception complicates but does not overwhelm the Ng case, said former prosecutor and professor at the New York Law School, Rebecca Roife, who specializes in legal ethics. A major problem for the government’s case, she said, could be that Leisner was Ng’s boss.

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