Former Goldman Sachs banker details 1MDB robbery plot
A key witness in the bribery and money-laundering trial of a former Goldman Sachs executive said the scheme to rob billions of dollars from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund was carried out a decade ago. century inside the apartment of a flamboyant Asian businessman who is still on the run.
Tim Leissner, a former Goldman partner who pleaded guilty in the scheme, testified in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday that the businessman, Jho Low, told him and the defendant, his former colleague, Roger Ngabout a scheme to pay bribes of up to $1 billion to foreign officials.
Ng’s trial began on Monday and is expected to last several weeks. This will most likely be the only trial taking place on US soil over a Malaysian fund robbery known as 1MDB. Mr. Leissner and a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs pleaded guilty in this case while Mr. Low, Mr. a financier spends free who enjoys throwing lavish parties in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, remains a fugitive.
Mr. Leissner, who said he was “close friends” with Mr Ng as well as his supervisor for Goldman in Asia, was the first witness indicted to embroil Mr Ng at the center of a blatant conspiracy to robbed 1MDB fund.
Prosecutors globally said the funds raised were supposed to fund infrastructure projects aimed at benefiting Malaysians, but were instead used to fund other projects. The lavish spending of Mr Low and those close to the country’s former prime minister Najib Razak.
Mr Leissner said Mr Low chaired the 2012 meeting at his London flat. There, Mr. Low detailed all the government officials who would be paid bribes to secure Goldman’s right to arrange billions of dollars in bond offerings for the 1MDB fund, Mr. Leissner testified.
Mr. Low also told former Goldman executives that the bribes would have to come from the proceeds of the bond offering – and they would also get some of that money, according to Mr. Leissner.
Mr Leissner said: “Roger and I were told by Jho we would be taken care of.
Mr. Leissner said he was aware the scheme was illegal but it didn’t bother him because securing bond transactions for Goldman would generate large fees for the Wall Street bank. “I wanted to be a hero at Goldman Sachs,” he said.
Mr. Ng was the person who initially introduced Mr. Leissner and several others at Goldman to Mr. Low in 2008, Mr. Leissner testified. He added that he and Mr. Ng soon realized that Mr. Low was the key to getting the bond underwriting job for Goldman, even though he had no position at 1MDB.
“He never had any official role but he was the main decision maker,” Mr. Leissner said.
Mr. Low, who has also been charged with bribery and money laundering, is believed to be residing in China.
Mr. Leissner said he and Mr. Ng both kept Mr. Low’s dealings private from most of his Goldman colleagues after the bank formally rejected their attempt to include him as an asset management client. While several bankers at Goldman knew that Mr. Low was acting as an intermediary in the 1MDB negotiations, only he and Mr. Ng knew the details of the fund robbery, Mr. Leissner said.
During cross-examination, lawyers for Mr. Ng are expected to question Mr. Leissner about his status and his statements about the extent of Mr. Ng’s involvement in the 1MDB negotiations.
Defense attorneys can draw from a filing Goldman has assembled to present Mr. Leissner as a master con artist, while the bank is negotiating its own deal with prosecutors and regulators. In his opening statement on Monday, Marc Agnifilo, one of Mr Ng’s lawyers, sought to call Mr. Leissner’s character into interrogation, calling him a “double lust” and claiming that he was twice married to two women at the same time.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/16/business/1mdb-goldman-sachs-roger-ng.html Former Goldman Sachs banker details 1MDB robbery plot