KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — The ongoing 1MDB trial of Malaysian former banker Roger Ng in a US federal court revealed titillating details and the extent of the misappropriated money that flowed out from Malaysian sovereign investment firm 1MDB.
In yesterday’s hearing, the star prosecution witness Tim Leissner admitted to having used money he received from 1MDB to buy a US$10 million (RM41.8 million) house in London for his then Malaysian lover Datuk Rohana Rozhan who was at that time the CEO of Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, Bloomberg reported.
Leissner, the former chief of Goldman Sachs’ South-east Asia operation, told US prosecutor Drew Rolle that Rozana had threatened to expose his involvement with 1MDB.
“Ms. Rozhan [sic] was very upset that I was ending our relationship to be with my future wife, with Kimora.
“If I didn’t buy her a house, she would tell the authorities about my involvement in the 1MDB scandal. She was threatening to expose me. At the time, 2013, I was very fearful of that,” Leissner was quoted as saying when questioned if he had given Rozana any money from the Malaysian investment fund.
Leissner married US TV personality Kimora Lee Simmons in 2013.
According to the Bloomberg news report, Leissner was in a romantic relationship with Rozana from 2003 to 2013.
“Pretty much everybody in our South-east Asia territory knew it,” Leissner was quoted saying.
Leissner was also reported telling the US court that at one point, he had consulted his then boss at Goldman Richard Gnodde, about Rohana.
Gnodde reportedly told Leissner to be careful as the US investment banker had business dealings with Astro.
Despite Gnodde’s advice, Leissner told the court that he continued his relationship with Rohana for another 10 years.
Rohana resigned from Astro in 2019.
Bloomberg said it had contacted her and Gnodde through emails but received no immediate response.
Leissner was reported to have previously testified in the trial that began on February 14 that he and Ng were “best friends” and had worked together to deceive their bosses at Goldman about supposed bribes received for the 1MDB deal.
Ng was head of Goldman’s Malaysian head of investment banking and is charged with conspiring with Leissner to launder money in violation of US anti-bribery laws.
To date, Ng is the only former Goldman banker to claim trial in the scandal.