‘The Wolf on Wall Street’ Used in Multi-Billion-Dollar Money Laundering Scheme

A former Managing Director of Goldman Sachs was convicted yesterday in connection with a multibillion-dollar scheme, and ironically, he used “The Wolf of Wall Street” to help launder some of the money.

involving Malaysia’s state-owned investment and development fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). for conspiring to commit bribery, to circumvent internal accounting controls, and to commit money laundering 1MDB is a Malaysian state-owned and controlled fund created to pursue investment and development projects for the economic benefit of Malaysia and its people.

“Roger Ng participated in a massive bribery and money laundering scheme involving the corruption of high-level foreign officials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr.

Ng, of Malaysia, was found guilty of paying bribes to a dozen foreign officials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, circumventing the internal accounting controls of Goldman Sachs, and conspiring to launder billions of dollars related to the scheme.

According to evidence presented at trial, between approximately 2009 and 2014, Ng and his co-conspirators laundered billions of dollars misappropriated and fraudulently diverted from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Malaysia’s state-owned investment and development fund, through three bond transactions it executed with Goldman Sachs, known as “Project Magnolia,” “Project Maximus” and “Project Catalyze.” As part of the scheme, Ng and others, including Tim Leissner, the former Southeast Asia Chairman and participating managing director of Goldman Sachs, paid more than $1 billion in bribes to 12 government officials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates to obtain and retain lucrative business for Goldman Sachs. They also laundered the proceeds of their criminal conduct by funding major Hollywood films such as “The Wolf of Wall Street” and purchasing, among other things, a $51 million Jean-Michael Basquiat painting from New York-based Christie’s auction house, a $23 million diamond necklace from a New York jeweler, millions of dollars in Hermès handbags from a dealer based on Long Island, and a luxury real estate property in Manhattan.

Through its work for 1MDB during that time, Goldman Sachs received approximately $600 million in fees and revenues, while Ng received $35 million for his role in the bribery and money laundering scheme. In total, Ng and the other co-conspirators misappropriated more than $2.7 billion from 1MDB.

Goldman Sachs paid more than $2.9 billion as part of a coordinated resolution with criminal and civil authorities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and elsewhere.

source: U.S. Department of Justice

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Rich Mitchell