Affairs, nepotism at Goldman Sachs: dissecting the ‘coup of the century’

Singapore, Feb 24 (EFE).- Kuala Lumpur is closely following the United States trial revealing details about the 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad) fund scandal, including alleged nepotism at Goldman Sachs to employ the sons of Malaysia’s former Malaysian prime minister, accused of embezzling millions.

“It didn’t happen, none of my children was hired at Goldman Sachs and none worked at Banco Americano; the local media headlines are giving the wrong impression, what Tim Leissner describes is his ATTEMPT to bribe me,” Najib Razak wrote on his Facebook account Wednesday night.

Najib, sentenced in 2020 to 12 years in prison for seven corruption offenses linked to the embezzlement of $ 4.5 billion from 1MDB, which he has appealed, responded to the testimony of Tim Leissner, Malaysia’s former Goldman Sachs director, during the trial in New York.

Leissner, who has pleaded guilty to violating anti-corruption laws and collaborates with the prosecution, testified this week against his former employee at Goldman Sachs, Malaysian Roger Ng, for the alleged involvement of both in the illicit operations of the 1MDB through his contacts with Najib.

Created by Najib in 2009 under the pretext of spurring the Malaysian economy, Leissner said he did favors for the former leader, such as unsuccessfully looking to employ his three children in the financial institution at the request of the then-prime minister.

Likewise, Leissner said he had several affairs at the time, one of them with famous former Malaysian media director Rohana Rozhan, from whom he bought a $ 10 million house in London so that she would not reveal his participation in the 1MDB.

“If I didn’t buy her a house, I would have gone to the authorities,” said the former banker at the trial, widely followed by Malaysians on local networks and media.

The trial, interrupted until the prosecution shares a series of evidence with the defense, is just one of many open trials in the US, Malaysia and places such as Singapore over 1MDB, a scandal with ramifications on Wall Street and Hollywood.

In 2020, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay nearly $3 billion in compensation for its role in siphoning off 1MDB funds; the investment bank’s subsidiary in Malaysia said in a US court it had paid more than $ 1 billion in bribes to participate in the operations.

Unveiled in 2015 due to the leak by a Swiss banker of Spanish origin, Xavier Justo, to a British journalist, who described it as “the coup of the century,” at the center of the scandal is also the then confidant of Najib, Malaysian Jho Low, whose whereabouts are unknown.

Low forged an important network of contacts around the world, according to investigations in the United States, which led him to rub shoulders with Saudi princes, models such as Miranda Kerr and actors of the stature of Leonardo DiCaprio, helping to finance films such as The Wolf of Wall Street with 1MDB money. EFE


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