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“They were brought to light at the highest level at Goldman Sachs,” he said.

But, according to Leissner, he and Ng did not disclose full details of the agreements to their employer.

For example, they hid the involvement of a controversial Malaysian financier, Jho Low – who had previously been rejected as a Goldman client after the investment bank’s compliance team raised questions about the source. of his income.

We could be heroes

Similarly, Leissner and Ng failed to mention that the scheme involved paying bribes to government officials in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

“I knew it was illegal,” Leissner said last month. “I wanted this done for Goldman Sachs. I wanted to be a hero at Goldman Sachs.

Leissner testified that it was Ng who held numerous meetings to plan the scheme, including one at Low’s flat in London where Low drew boxes on a piece of paper with the names of all the officials who would receive bribes and gifts.

Ng’s lawyers argue that Leissner is exaggerating and misrepresenting facts in hopes of getting a reduced sentence.

Of course, pecuniary interests also played a role. For helping arrange the payments, Leissner pocketed some $80 million, and US prosecutors claim Ng’s share was $35 million.

But Leissner’s glory at Goldman was short-lived.

He has already pleaded guilty to US charges of conspiracy to launder money and violate anti-corruption laws for his role in the scandal, and is currently awaiting sentencing.

And he agreed to give up $44 million, as well as shares in a company worth hundreds of millions more.

But that pales in comparison to what Goldman Sachs – one of Wall Street’s most powerful firms – incurred for its involvement in the 1MDB bond sales, from which it reaped a relatively modest $600 million fee. .

Goldman has had to pay more than $5 billion in fines and reimbursements in Malaysia, the United States and Hong Kong – a far larger fine than the investment bank has incurred for its role in creating the questionable financial products that helped trigger the global financial crisis. crisis.

In addition, the investment bank has clawed back, or withheld, some US$174 million from senior executives, including current chief executive David Solomon and former bank boss Lloyd Blankfein.

Even more infuriatingly, Goldman, one of the world’s most prestigious investment banks, was forced to appear before a US judge and admit, for the first time in its 153-year history, that it was guilty. of a crime.