Ex-Goldman banker's wife says truth will save him, as defence in 1MDB trial rests

[NEW YORK] The wife of former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng told the jury in his trial over the 1MDB scandal that the "truth itself will save him". Hwee Bin Lim, the defence's last witness after 6 weeks of testimony, was on the stand Wednesday (Mar 30) on behalf of her husband.

Ng is the only Goldman Sachs Group banker to be tried by the US over the looting of sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. Ng is accused of conspiring with his former boss Tim Leissner and Malaysian financier Jho Low to drain billions of dollars from the fund as Goldman arranged a trio of bond deals for it.

During a second day of cross-examination, prosecutor Alixandra Smith closely questioned Lim about her claim that US$35 million the government says was a kickback to Ng was just a gain from a separate, legitimate investment she made with Leissner's ex-wife. Smith also asked Lim about her reaction to a June 2018 article in a Singapore newspaper reporting that Malaysian officials were about to arrest Low and Ng.

"Was that upsetting for you?" Smith asked.

"I wouldn't use the word 'upset', but it was pretty irritating to have his name come up," Lim said.

Smith suggested Lim was testifying in an effort to protect her husband.

"No, I don't need to protect Roger," Lim said. "I wouldn't want to see him convicted for a crime. The truth itself will save him. He doesn't need me to do anything."

The US says Low paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes to Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials in the global scam, as well as kickbacks to Leissner and Ng.

After the defence concluded, prosecutors called 2 FBI employees as rebuttal witnesses. One had done a financial analysis designed to refute Lim's claims that an initial investment of US$830,000, made around 1998, grew by 2005 to the US$34.9 million she said she earned by investing in China-based businesses owned by the family of Judy Chan Leissner.

The government is expected to rest its case when the trial resumes Monday. Jurors will then hear closing arguments from both sides. BLOOMBERG

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