Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Ex-Goldman Banker Casts Boss as Habitual Liar at 1MDB Trial

Roger Ng

Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Roger Ng’s defense team depicted his former boss Tim Leissner as a habitual liar who shaded the truth at every turn to get what he wanted.

Ng’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, began his cross-examination of Leissner Tuesday by hammering the former Goldman Southeast Asia head about lies he admitted telling to prosecutors, federal agents, company officials and regulators, as well as his multiple wives and girlfriends.

“It’s fair to say you’ve lied a lot in your life?” Agnifilo asked.

Leissner admitted lying on many occasions but claimed that was all in the past.

“I lied a lot, sir, and I regret those times,” he replied. “I turned over a new chapter.”

Ng, the only Goldman banker to go to trial in the 1MDB scandal, is accused of conspiring with Leissner to help financier Jho Low siphon billions of dollars from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

Former Goldman Banker Roger Ng Fraud Trial
Roger Ng

Leissner pleaded guilty to charges in 2018 and is now the government’s star witness against Ng. Prosecutors had Leissner on the stand for more than a week before turning him over to the defense on Tuesday.

Ng, who claims he tried to warn Goldman about Low, has argued Leissner’s testimony is motivated by his desire to reduce his sentence. Agnifilo repeatedly assailed Leissner’s credibility during cross-examination.

Leissner admitted that he lied in his initial discussions with prosecutors, attempting to minimize his own involvement in the scheme while pointing a finger at Ng and his own ex-wife, Judy Chan Leissner.

“You implicated the mother of your children in criminal activity?” Agnifilo asked.

‘Not Proud’

“I am not proud and since then I have taken responsibility,” Leissner replied, adding that he was “really scared” when first approached by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

He said he later decided to do “the right thing” so he could look his children “in the eye.”

Agnifilo brought up a number of lies Leissner told in his private life. The former banker previously admitted on the stand that he forged divorce documents in order to convince both Chan Leissner and, later, Kimora Lee Simmons, to wed him even though he was already married.

Read more: Bigamist Goldman Banker’s Emails to Wife Fair Game, Ng Argues

Leissner acknowledged that he had hurt the people he loved the most with his lies. “I regret that choice every day,” Leissner said.  “I don’t know why I did it.”

“Do you think you’re good at lying?” Agnifilo asked.

“I don’t think so,” Leissner said.


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