Bank’s culture encouraged execs to work around legal team, says ex-Goldman Sachs banker – Nation

Bank's culture encouraged execs to work around legal team, says ex-Goldman Sachs banker - Nation

PETALING JAYA: The former Goldman Sachs banker who pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal money from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) claims that the bank’s “culture” encouraged executives to work around the legal team to score business.

Tim Leissner (pic), Goldman’s former South-East Asia chairman, was quoted as saying that it was “very much in line of its culture of Goldman Sachs to conceal facts from certain compliance and legal employees”, reported CNN.

He said this in his guilty plea from August that was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday (Nov 9).

Leissner admitted to hiding from Goldman the fact that Malaysian businessman Jho Low secured business for the bank by bribing officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.

Last week, the US Justice Department announced charges against Leissner, Low and Roger Ng, another former Goldman banker.

Leissner has been ordered to forfeit US$43.7mil (RM182.27mil) as a result of his crimes.

Goldman Sachs is said to have received nearly RM2.5bil (US$600mil) in fees from the 1MDB deal.

Previously, the Financial Times reported that Goldman Sachs had helped 1MDB sell about RM27bil (US$6.5bil) of bonds between 2012 and 2013, two years before the authorities raided 1MDB’s offices to investigate allegations of massive fraud.

The criminal charges relating to 1MDB are the first by DoJ.

In 2016, the DOJ reportedly recovered over US$1bil (RM4.17bil being the current conversion rate) that was allegedly stolen, and sought the forfeiture of property, including a Bombardier private jet, Manhattan penthouse, Beverly Hills mansion and paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet.

Low is currently wanted in Malaysia and Singapore and other countries over investigations into 1MDB.

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