The Real Deal New York

Jho Low, former Goldman Sachs bankers face criminal charges in Malaysian money laundering case

The charges relate to services provided to a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund where $4 billion went missing
November 01, 2018 03:30PM

From left: Tim Leissner, Jho Low, and Roger Ng (Credit: Getty Images)

Two former Goldman Sachs bankers have been indicted alongside fugitive Jho Low in relation to the $4 billion embezzlement of a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

The former bankers, Tim Leissner and Roger Ng, were named Thursday by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, according to The New York Times. Authorities had been negotiating a plea deal with the former bankers for several months, and reportedly charged them with conspiring to commit money laundering and violation of anti-bribery laws. Leissner pleaded guilty, and Ng was arrested in Malaysia. Low, who was also indicted, remains at large.

It is a stark charge against the former Goldman employees, who until now have faced no charges of wrongdoing in the years-long money laundering and embezzlement saga involving the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund, or 1MDB.

Goldman acted as the primary bond underwriter for the fund. Among its services, it helped raise $6.5 billion for the fund and earned almost $600 million in fees for the bond issuance. Both Leissner and Ng departed the bank over 12 months ago.

Park Lane Hotel

The scandal has stretched from the U.S. to Asia and New York real estate. Developer Steve Witkoff and the Department of Justice reached an agreement to sell the Park Lane Hotel, which Low had invested in. He also bought a $30 million penthouse at the Time Warner Center.

A warrant for the arrest of Jho Low was issued by Malaysian authorities at the start of the year. They allege that between 2009 and 2015, Low masterminded the pilfering of $4 billion from the fund. [NYT] — David Jeans