KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 24): Datuk Tawfiq Ayman, the husband of former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, denied meeting or communicating with former Goldman Sachs bankers Tim Leissner and Roger Ng.
Tim Leissner, who is currently testifying as the star witness in the New York Eastern District Court against Ng for his involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, said that Tawfiq had been bribed for BNM’s approval for an overnight transfer of US$1 billion for the PetroSaudi-1MDB joint-venture project.
According to reports, Leissner had testified that it was “unprecedented” that US$1 billion could be transferred out overnight to PetroSaudi as it would have needed BNM’s approval first.
He said Tawfiq had been bribed in order to get the transaction done speedily.
In response, Tawfiq in a statement on Thursday (Feb 24) said that he had never received any bribes from anyone.
“I wish to categorically state that throughout my entire life, I have never received any bribes from anyone,” he stressed.
He also denied ever meeting or knowing Leissner or Ng.
“I do not know Tim Leissner or Roger Ng, and neither have I met, nor have [I] ever communicated with either of them.
“I am shocked by the statements made against me by Tim Leissner, which have been reported in the media,” he added.
He said that he will be seeking legal advice on the matter through his legal firm Messrs Jagjit Ariff & Co.
It was reported that in court proceedings in New York this week, Leissner admitted that he could not confirm “independently” whether bribes were received or not to get the overnight transfer.
A report by The Edge last year wrote that Iron Rhapsody Ltd, which had a bank account at UBS in Singapore and was owned by Tawfiq, had received a total of US$16.22 million from companies/bank accounts of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low).
Leissner pleaded guilty in 2018 to a count of conspiracy to violate US anti-bribery laws and to conspiring to launder money.