1MDB Prosecutors Said to Eye Ex-Goldman Banker’s Money Moves

1MDB Prosecutors Said to Eye Ex-Goldman Banker’s Money Moves

U.S. prosecutors investigating Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s role in raising almost $6 billion for Malaysia’s 1MDB investment fund are asking questions about money flowing through accounts linked to Tim Leissner, the lead banker behind the transactions, according to people familiar with the matter.

Officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department have been interviewing bankers familiar with 1Malaysia Development Bhd. about Leissner’s network of relationships with politically connected Malaysians, said the people, who asked not to be named because the queries aren’t public.

In interviews as recent as last month, the people said, the U.S. officials asked about the association between Leissner, who left Goldman Sachs in February 2016, and Low Taek Jho, who the Justice Department said in July was at the center of a scheme that siphoned more than $3 billion dollars from 1MDB. U.S. investigators are asking in particular whether money was sent from a Leissner-linked account to an entity controlled by someone tied to the Malaysian government, one of the people said. Leissner’s attorney, Marc Harris, declined to comment. An official who answered the phone at Low’s Hong Kong-based company Jynwel Capital said he wasn’t available.

It’s not the first time U.S. officials have scrutinized personal transactions of Goldman’s lead banker for troubled 1MDB. U.S. authorities said last year in court filings that several million dollars from 1MDB ended up in an account belonging to 1MDB’s top lawyer Jasmine Loo. She later transferred several thousand dollars to Leissner, people familiar with the matter have said. Attempts to reach Loo weren’t successful.

The U.S. look into 1MDB money flows is part of a globe-spanning effort. Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and other countries are also investigating the roles banks and individuals may have played in plowing cash from the fund into luxury real estate, art, lavish parties and even movie productions.

Goldman Sachs and the Justice Department also declined to comment.
No Official Role

Investigators also asked about Leissner’s interactions with Roger Ng, a former Goldman colleague who worked on the 1MDB funding, the person said. Ng, a Malaysian national, was head of Goldman’s Southeast Asian sales and trading business at the time of his resignation in April 2014. Ng, who has not been publicly charged with any crimes, declined to comment when contacted by phone.

At the heart of the 1MDB scheme, according to U.S. prosecutors, was Low. The Malaysian national was an adviser on 1MDB’s creation in 2009, the U.S. said. Bankers at Goldman Sachs understood him to be a liaison from the fund even though he didn’t have an official role there, the government said.

Two years ago, after 1MDB raised suspicions by failing to make a payment on its multibillion-dollar debt, the FBI began investigating Low’s multimillion-dollar acquisitions of trophy properties in Manhattan and Beverly Hills. Low and his associates diverted money raised for development projects into personal accounts and then pumped it into art, penthouses and the production company behind 2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” the U.S. alleged in court documents seeking the seizure of more than $1 billion in assets.

1MDB Prosecutors Said to Eye Ex-Goldman Banker’s Money Moves
by Greg Farrell, Andrea Tan and Keri Geiger
April 28, 2017 – Bloomberg


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