If we know anything about former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner (and, as the bank might say, we don’t really know much definitively), it’s this: The man tells a good story. Stories like: “Uh, how do you think giant deals get done at a place like Goldman Sachs?” and “I’ve no idea who all these women I’m allegedly sleeping with and/or married to are.”
Indeed, telling such stories is part and parcel of Leissner’s post-Goldman career as a cooperating witness for the government in the whole sordid 1MDB Malaysian bribery and kickbacks scandal that’s done so much to drag Goldman’s name through the mud. But that’s not at all what Leissner intended.
“I knew it was illegal,” he said. “I wanted this to be done for Goldman Sachs. I wanted to be a hero at Goldman Sachs.”
And, he says, he knew that the higher-ups would look the other way, as they did with the afore-alluded-to sexual shenanigans.
“At Goldman Sachs we were tasked with always finding new business opportunities,” he said.
Which brings us to the reason for Leissner’s current performance on (lower) Broadway: the trial of his one-time subordinate, friend and alleged partner-in-crime Roger Ng, who Leissner says introduced him to international man of mystery, good times and good taste Jho Low.
Mr. Leissner said Mr. Low hosted the 2012 meeting at his London apartment. There, Mr. Low described in detail all the government officials who would be paid bribes in order for Goldman to secure the rights to arrange billions of dollars in bond offerings for the 1MDB fund, Mr. Leissner testified.
Mr. Low also told the former Goldman executives that the bribe money would have to come from the proceeds of the bond offering — and that they would get some of those proceeds as well, according to Mr. Leissner.
“Roger and I were told by Jho that we would be taken care of,” Mr. Leissner said.
Anyway, fun as all this is, the real fireworks are set to begin once direct examination ends.
Defense lawyers could draw from a dossier that Goldman had put together presenting Mr. Leissner as a master con artist, while the bank was 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 question, calling him a “double bigamist” and claiming that he was twice married to two women at the same time.
It sure is good David Solomon has something else to focus on this week.
Former Goldman Sachs Partner Testifies at 1MDB Trial [WSJ]
A former Goldman Sachs banker says the plot to loot a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund was laid out in 2012. [NYT]
Goldman CEO David Solomon raises financial targets, takes victory lap after crushing 2020 goals [CNBC]
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