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1MDB Mastermind Jho Low Looted $1.4 Billion From Goldman-Backed Bond Deals

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Mar 15, 2022 - 12:00 AM

The latest news from the trial of Goldman banker Roger Ng revealed how money from 1MDB, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund at the center of one of Southeast Asia's biggest financial scandals in recent memory, was siphoned off and paid out in the form of bribes. 

FBI agent Eric Van Dorn said Monday that fugitive financier Jho Low, the mastermind of the 1MDB scheme, allegedly stole more than $1.4 billion.

Some of the money went to pay off former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who reaped $756 million of the $6.5 billion total raised by Goldman Sachs for the fund, Van Dorn testified, according to Bloomberg.

Razak was later found guilty during a criminal trial in Malaysia.

Jho Low

Meanwhile, Khadem al-Qubaisi, a former managing director of Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Company, better known as Ipic, received $472.8 million for his role in guaranteeing some of 1MDB's transactions, Van Dorn told the jurors in federal court in Brooklyn.

Ng is the only Goldman banker to stand trial for the bank's role in the scandal, which involved Goldman seeding a sovereign wealth fund that was, in reality, a political slush fund, with billions of dollars in money raised by bond offerings backed by Malaysia's sovereign credit.

The fund later defaulted on its obligations, exposing the truth: that billions had been looted by Low. It was later revealed by a sprawling DoJ investigation that the money had been spent in irresponsible ways, like on lavish celebrity-filled parties and gifts, and on yachts, and the movie "the Wolf of Wall Street." Some of the money was also illegally moved into the US and donated to politicians, including former President Barack Obama, seen below playing golf with Razak.

Previously, ex-Goldman banker Tim Leissner, who was also Ng's boss overseeing the bank's dealmaking in Southeast Asia, testified for days, revealing a torrent of embarrassing information for Goldman and others.

Finally, Van Dorn said he tracked how 1MDB money was siphoned off to at least 16 recipients. Ng got $35.1 million siphoned from two of the three bond transactions, while Leissner, who pleaded guilty to fraud in exchange for his cooperation against his former employer, and Ng, received $73.4 million.

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