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Ex-Goldman Banker's Star Witness Claims That 1MDB Kickbacks Were Hidden By Wives

Ex-Goldman Banker's Star Witness Claims That 1MDB Kickbacks Were Hidden By Wives
One of two Goldman Sachs bankers testified on Thursday in the corruption trial of the other, Roger Ng, that they devised a plan involving their spouses to conceal payments they got for helping to pillage Malaysia's 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.
Tim Leissner, Ng's Goldman supervisor before becoming the star government witness against him, said he got kickback payments from a Malaysian middleman, Jho Low, for assisting in the embezzlement of monies generated by Goldman for 1MDB through three bond sales.
After pleading guilty to money laundering and corruption charges, Leissner testified, but Ng has pleaded not guilty to conspiring to launder money and breaking an anti-corruption legislation.
The allegations come from one of the world's greatest financial scandals, in which US authorities allege that $4.5 billion of the $6.5 billion Goldman collected for 1MDB was routed to government officials, bankers, and their allies through bribery and kickbacks.
After the initial bond issue in 2012, Leissner, 52, said he received $35 million from Low and sent half of it to Ng.
According to Leissner, the two then discussed creating a "cover narrative" to explain the transfers so that the institutions handling the transactions would not get suspicious.
"His wife's family had previously made an investment in my wife Judy's business in China, and this was return of that investment," Leissner told the jury in Brooklyn federal court, referring to his former wife Judy Chan.
Leissner claimed the tale was false, and he didn't know if Ng, 49, told his bank about it. For Ng, the statement might be troublesome.
Marc Agnifilo, his lawyer, has denied that the money was a bribe, claiming that the men's wives had a legal business relationship. Agnifilo has stated that he intends to invite Hwee Bin Lim, Ng's wife, to testify in her husband's defence.
He may confront Leissner about the money during cross-examination, which will not take place until next week because to the US Department of Justice's delay in providing the defence with some 15,500 documents pertaining to Leissner.
In his opening statement, Agnifilo hinted that he would question Leissner's integrity by inquiring about his adultery.
Leissner said on Thursday that he faked divorce papers in order to marry Kimora Lee Simmons, an American model and former wife of U.S. music producer Russell Simmons, in 2013, while separated from Chan.
In 2020, Goldman Sachs paid a roughly $3 billion fine and agreed to have its Malaysian subsidiary plead guilty in a US court.
Low was indicted by US prosecutors in 2018, but neither American nor Malaysian officials have detained him. Low is believed to be in China, which Beijing disputes.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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