PETALING JAYA: The US government has been aware for four years that Goldman Sachs is in possession of four mobile phones used by its former executive Tim Leissner, but has yet to take steps to take possession of the devices.
This was despite knowing that the investment bank had “wiped clean” two BlackBerry devices which Leissner used for work on Jan 19, 2016, the very day the rogue banker returned them to his employer.
The startling disclosure was made by prosecutors to district judge Margot K Brodie during a status conference held in a 1MDB-related criminal case brought against Malaysian Roger Ng in New York.
Attorneys for Ng were also present on the call. Ng, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker, faces a charge of conspiring to launder billions of dollars in 1MDB funds, and for paying millions of dollars in bribes.
According to counsel for the US government, Goldman Sachs had not surrendered the mobile phones as they were concerned that doing so may violate Hong Kong laws.
Leissner and Ng, together with fugitive businessmen Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, were at the heart of the 1MDB saga, resulting in multibillion dollar losses to its coffers.
Leissner, who was the chairman of Goldman Sachs Southeast Asia and a director of Goldman Sachs Malaysia, pleaded guilty to charges brought by the US government, including for conspiracy to launder money.
In court documents, he admitted to having siphoned more than US$200 million in 1MDB funds into bank accounts which he controlled.