Tim Leissner is alleged to be connected to Najib Razak, who himself is suspected of being involved in a multi-million dollar scandal involving 1MDB.
PETALING JAYA: The US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is now probing the connection between Goldman Sach’s regional chairman to Prime Minister Najib Razak, who himself is linked to a multi-million dollar scandal involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
According to the New York Post, Tim Leissner, the Singapore-based chairman of Goldman’s Southeast Asia operations, has returned to the US and is on a break from his role as pressure mounts on Najib back home and across the globe.
Leissner, 45 is married to former fashion model and now successful entrepreneur and fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons, who according to media reports in the US has connections to Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Najib.
The news portal also reported one individual who told them that Leissner, an 18-year Goldman veteran “with access to the highest reaches of government in Malaysia” likely made millions from the Goldman deals he led with 1MDB, that unfortunately for him, turned controversial later.
“People are smelling something here,” Gary Swiman, head of compliance and regulatory consulting services at EisnerAmper, told the news portal. “This has been a disaster for Goldman.”
Swiman also said Leissner lived like a rock star and added, “He may have been one of the highest-paid people at Goldman. And then they pulled him out of Malaysia. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Najib and his brainchild, the debt-riddled 1MDB have been the focus of much controversy, made worse after The Wall Street Journal’s exposé mid last year that RM2.6 billion in funds had been deposited into Najib’s private bank accounts in 2013. Some believe the money originated from 1MDB.
Najib however declared the funds were a donation from Saudi Arabia and the Attorney-General this year cleared him of all criminal wrongdoing in accepting the money, most of which Apandi Ali said had been returned to the donor anyway.
The portal said however that the FBI was probing 1MDB’s transactions that could lead Goldman having to face a congressional inquiry.
It added: “The sum of three bond sales for 1MDB back in 2012 and 2013, which amount to USD6.5 billion, reportedly yielded fees, commissions and expenses for Goldman of almost USD593m amounting to 9.1 per cent of the money raised – the typical cut for an investment bank is about 5 per cent.”
Dick Bove, a bank industry analyst at Rafferty Capital Markets was quoted by the news portal as saying, “If it exceeds the limit Malaysia sets for investment managers of a fund, then Goldman will have to deal with some negative kickback from Malaysia.”
Meanwhile five other countries are investigating 1MDB on allegations of money-laundering.