Roger Ng’s trial goes to the jury | Thomas Fox – Compliance Evangelist
The Roger Ng Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) trial has now concluded its testimony phase, the parties are closed and the decision on whether or not to release Ng rests with the jury. The closing arguments highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of both parties’ positions in the trial. As reported by Patricia Hurtado, writing in Bloomberg, closing the prosecution assaulted Ng’s defense based on the testimony of Ng’s wife, Hwee Bin Lim, who said that a “$35.1 million capital injection into a front company that she controlled was not a bribe to her husband in the 1MDB scheme, but stemmed from an unrelated and legitimate business transaction. » Luc Cohen, writing in Reuters, said that “Ng’s wife, Hwee Bin Lim, later testified for the defense that the business venture was, in fact, legitimate. She said she invested $6 million in the mid-2000s in a Chinese company owned by the family of Leissner’s wife at the time, and the $35 million was her return on that investment.
The biggest problem for the prosecution was its star witness Timothy Leissner. From his innocuous admission of “lying a lot,” the government had to both depend on Leissner’s testimony and distance itself from it, largely at the same time. In the first category, Cohen wrote that “Leissner said the men (he and Ng) agreed to tell the banks a ‘cover story’ that the money was from a legitimate business venture between their wives and that Alixandra Smith, a prosecutor, said in her closing argument that other evidence supported Leissner’s testimony.
In this last category, Matthew Goldstein, writing in the New York Times, said: “A federal prosecutor told jurors on Monday that they had received enough evidence to convict a former Goldman Sachs banker for his role in one of the biggest international money laundering and corruption schemes, even without the testimony of the government’s star witness.” He went on to note that the prosecutor claimed Leissner selected moments of truthful testimony, writing “Mr. Leissner didn’t lie when he testified in federal court in Brooklyn about the key facts of the scheme, which was funded by a series of bond issues Goldman arranged for the 1MDB fund.
The defense assailed Leissner and his testimony during their grueling 6-day cross-examination, where Leissner “admitted to lying a lot in life. He was forced to admit that he first lied to federal agents, his fellow Goldman partners, and his wives and girlfriends. At closing, Ng’s attorney “stated that Mr. Leissner was a man who ‘will lie if it suits his interests.’ He said that despite what the prosecution said, without Mr. Leissner, the government couldn’t link Mr. Ng to the plot to steal billions from the 1MDB fund. There’s no evidence that links Roger. There’s not a dirty email. Not a bad text.
Interestingly, in refuting the charge, another prosecutor, Drew Rolle, seemed to change tack to defend and rehabilitate Leissner. Stewart Bishop, writing in Law360 said “Rolle also mounted a final defense of Leissner. Tim Leissner came here, spoke up and told you the unvarnished truth,” Rolle said. “It was painful, but that’s what has to happen, because it’s the truth.” When you have to try to rehabilitate the witness to your story in the event of a rebuttal, it’s never a good sign.
Finally, in an interesting twist, Hurtado reported that “the jury in the 1MDB conspiracy case against former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng has asked to consider his wife’s testimony which the defense says is essential. in his file. After seven weeks of testimony in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, jurors deciding the fate of the former head of investment banking at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in Malaysia made the request shortly after beginning their deliberations on Tuesday afternoon. Trial attorneys and trial observers continually try to read the signs of the jury. It seems to me that this request signifies that the jury took Ng’s defense to heart through his wife’s testimony about the origin of the family funds.
We all have to sit now and wait for the jury to come back with their verdict. If the jury returns a guilty verdict, it will bolster the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) attempts to hold individual actors accountable for their actions in engaging in FCPA violations and other white-collar crimes involving corporations. . If the jury returns with a not-guilty verdict following the largest corporate FCPA fine and penalty, against Ng’s former employer, Goldman Sachs, it could bode ill for the DOJ’s attempts to hold. responsible individuals in similar cases or even other instances of fraud cases. go forward. If there is a not guilty verdict in the Ng and you match it with the recent not guilty verdict in the indictment of Mark Forkner, the former chief technical pilot at Boeing responsible for the 737 Max, that may well indicate the difficulties of trying to empower employees of large corporations.
Mike Volkov said of Forkner’s verdict: “Juries often do justice to deliberations and verdicts. In the Boeing case, the jurors saw through the government’s lack of fairness – Boeing officials were not charged – only a chief technical pilot was held liable. The fundamental flaw in this approach is that even assuming Forkner was at fault, his actions or omissions occurred in the context of an organization with co-workers, supervisors and other senior officials ultimately responsible for Boeing shares. He concluded that “Forkner’s defense attorney argued to the jury, ‘This was a massive corporate failure, and Boeing just needed someone to pin it down.’ The jury accepted.