Ex-Goldman companion testifies towards former colleague in 1MDB corruption trial By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng exits after the primary day of his felony trial, at america Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., February 14, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Luc Cohen and Jody Godoy

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A former Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) companion started testifying towards his former colleague on Wednesday in a trial over the looting of a whole lot of tens of millions of {dollars} from Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund, one of many greatest scandals in Wall Avenue historical past.

Prosecutors known as Tim Leissner, the previous chief of Goldman’s Southeast Asia operation, as their star witness within the trial of Roger Ng, the financial institution’s former head of funding banking in Malaysia. Ng has pleaded not responsible to conspiring to launder cash and to violate an anti-bribery legislation.

Prosecutors mentioned in opening statements on Monday in Brooklyn federal court docket that Ng, 49, acquired tens of millions in kickbacks for serving to embezzle funds from 1MDB. Leissner, 52, in 2018 pleaded responsible to comparable costs and agreed to cooperate with the federal government’s investigation.

Ng’s protection lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, mentioned in his opening assertion that Ng had no position within the scheme allegedly perpetrated by Leissner and Jho Low, a Malaysian financier who served as an middleman for offers by which Goldman helped 1MDB promote $6.5 billion in bonds.

U.S. prosecutors say Goldman earned $600 million in charges from the offers and that $4.5 billion of the funds raised was diverted. The financial institution in 2020 paid a virtually $3 billion wonderful and organized for its Malaysian unit to plead responsible in U.S. court docket.

Beneath questioning by Assistant U.S. Lawyer Drew Rolle, the Germany-born Leissner mentioned he conspired with Ng, Low and others to embezzle a number of the funds Goldman raised for 1MDB, use a number of the cash to bribe officers to win enterprise for the financial institution, and hold some for themselves.

“The bribes and kickbacks made the transactions potential,” he testified. He mentioned that he hid the cash by way of offshore shell firms to keep away from elevating crimson flags with banks.

“Had we instructed any financial institution the reality, this would not have labored,” Leissner mentioned.

Prosecutors have acknowledged that Leissner, who has not but been sentenced, will obtain a lighter punishment because of his cooperation, however mentioned Leissner’s testimony can be backed up by different proof.

Agnifilo has countered that Leissner lied to prosecutors about Ng’s involvement. He spent a lot of his opening assertion attacking Leissner’s credibility, portraying him as a socialite who stole to finance a lavish way of life.

A lawyer for Leissner declined to remark.

Low, the accused mastermind behind the scheme, was indicted in america alongside Ng in 2018. He has not been arrested by U.S. or Malaysian authorities. Low’s U.S. lawyer didn’t reply to a request for remark.

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