This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on March 28, 2022 - April 3, 2022
APART from raking in a collective US$95.1 million in kickbacks and bribes for their roles in fraudulently helping fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, siphon billions of dollars from 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), former Goldman Sachs bankers Tim Leissner and Roger Ng Chong Hwa also collectively received US$14.3 million worth of bonuses in cash and stock at the bank.
Federal prosecutors last Thursday called FBI agent Ryan Collins as their final witness, who walked the jury through scores of emails and other records that the prosecutors said demonstrated that Ng had conspired with Low to steal billions of dollars from 1MDB.
Collins was shown compensation documents for Ng and Leissner. The agent testified that, in 2012, Ng’s annual salary plus bonuses was a whopping US$3 million, which he said was the highest since he joined the company in 2005.
Collins said Ng had received a total bonus of US$2,415,260 in 2012, more than double what he had received in total in all the years he worked at Goldman. The bonus also included Goldman shares.
Collins verified that Leissner made a grand total of US$11.9 million in bonuses in the same year. It was also his highest bonus ever.
The bonuses were paid shortly upon completion of two of 1MDB’s bond issuances of US$1.75 billion each, which Goldman won the mandate to undertake. The US investment bank earned US$400 million in fees as arranger for the two issuances.
Ng, the only Goldman banker to go to trial in the US in relation to the 1MDB scandal, is accused of plotting with his former boss Leissner and Low to pull off the massive fraud estimated at US$4.5 billion.
Leissner was the most prominent of the US government’s witnesses and had testified to hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes paid to Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials who had either helped enable the heist or closed their eyes to it.
The prosecution contended that Ng collected US$35.1 million in kickbacks while Leissner received more than US$60 million.
Collins testified that he had reviewed emails sent and received by Ng and others as well as charts compiled by the government that tracked meetings and communications between Low, Ng, Leissner and others.
Collins told the jurors that Ng had sent emails from several addresses when communicating with Low around the time of the 1MDB bond deals. He testified that he had reviewed Ng’s iCloud accounts and that some of those listed in his accounts were people who later received bribes, which Low paid out as part of carrying out the fraud.
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