Guan Eng: Ex-Goldman banker’s guilty plea shows 1MDB scandal real

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks during a press conference in Parliament, Kuala Lumpur November 3, 2018. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks during a press conference in Parliament, Kuala Lumpur November 3, 2018. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3 —  Former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner’s guilty plea in the US over a criminal charge related to 1MDB demonstrates that the corruption scandal around the state investment firm exists, said Lim Guan Eng.

The finance minister said during a press conference today that there was no sense for those involved to continue claiming that the global scandal did not exist.

“The fact that Tim Leissner pleaded guilty proves the scandal happened; he admitted to wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB,” Lim said referring to the ex-banker.

“This is the strongest form of evidence that proves what has been claimed to be a major fraud.

“It is a scandal where a senior officer of Goldman Sachs admitted to being involved in this fraud,” he said.

The US Justice Department announced criminal indictments this week against former Goldman Sachs bankers Leissner and Roger Ng, and alleged 1MDB mastermind Low Taek Jho.

Leissner also agreed to pay US$43.7 million (RM181.9 million) in restitution of ill-gotten gains while Ng, who was arrested here, will be extradited to the US to face charges there.

Low, also known as Jho Low, remains at large.

In Malaysia, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been charged with 38 counts of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and abuse related to 1MDB and a subsidiary.

He maintains his innocence and insists that allegations against him are politically motivated.

Lim expressed bemusement today over the continued denial over the scandal and how some people still supported those accused of the global corruption scandal.

“Now it has been proven to a point until someone has admitted guilt; this shows 1MDB actually happened.

“All of this happened, a major fraud, until today there are still people who are supporting the thief when evidence has been exposed to all.

“Why they can still believe this thief, I don’t believe, I don’t understand,” he said.