KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker Tim Leissner, who admitted to looting hundreds of millions of dollars from Malaysian 1MDB fund, testified that he had also stolen tens of millions of dollars from his accomplices in the fraud.
Leissner said that “a large portion” of the US$6.5 billion raised through three 1MDB bond deals he helped organise with his former colleague Roger Ng was transferred off to pay kickbacks and bribes to officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, The Edge reported.
However, Leissner said that the US$60 million in kickbacks he kept for himself wasn’t enough.
Leissner, a key government witness, testified to this during the bribery trial of Ng.
He said that he saw an opportunity when the Malaysian financier Jho Low, who alleged to be the architect of the massive fraud, asked him to “hold” €145 million (US$162 million) in a shell company in Mauritius.
Leissner told the jury that kept US$80 million for himself as much of his money was invested in illiquid assets.
He also revealed that he had borrowed another US$1.25 million from Ng, his subordinate at Goldman.
Leissner said he had the intention of paying back the money to Ng, but did not have the chance following his arrest in 2018.
Ng is accused of a money-laundering conspiracy and bribery stemming from the scam at 1MDB fund.
Leissner pleaded guilty in 2018 to conspiring to violate United State (US) anti-bribery laws, and agreed to cooperate with the US with the hope of getting a more lenient sentence.
The report stated that Leissner, 52, delved into his personal life including how he lied, stole and cheated in the fourth day of testimony.
The report explained that it is a common practice for prosecutors to highlight the negative aspects of their witnesses to get ahead of anything that could be revealed by defence lawyers during cross-examination.
Leissner said he used some of the money he stole from Low to purchase a US$50 million boat, part of the Inter Milan football team and a Manhattan apartment at 68th Street and Madison Avenue.
Some he said had also been used for a down payment on a Los Angeles home he’d share with his new wife, Kimora Lee Simmons, whom he met in 2013.
He admitted that he also invested in a multi-platform media company called All Def Digital Inc and in Celsius Holdings Inc, an energy drink.
Ng, 49, has pleaded not guilty and his trial is expected to last as long as six weeks. Leissner is expected to resume his testimony on February 28.
The report stated that Leissner yesterday had confessed he was twice married to two women at the same time.
He said he “faked” a divorce decree in order to marry Simmons while still being married to then-wife, Judy Chan Leissner.
He also told jurors he’d earlier falsified a divorce document in order to marry Judy Chan in Hong Kong in about 2000.
“I photoshopped the divorce document,” he said of his 2014 marriage to Simmons, a fashion designer.
“Did Judy Chan know?” asked prosecutor Drew Rolle.
“Yes,” he said.
“Did Kimora Lee Simmons know that?” Rolle asked.
“No,” Leissner said.
Leissner said Chan wasn’t as forgiving.
In 2014, he said that he wanted to put a US$900,000 down payment on a home in Los Angeles for Simmons, but could not make any transfer as Judy did not want to make any transfers related to his new family life in Los Angeles.
Instead, Leissner said he faked an email claiming Low needed money.
“It didn’t work with Chan. I think she did some research on the Internet and found out I was trying to buy this house,” he said.