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Ex-Goldman banker’s wife created shell company to launder millions: feds

The wife of disgraced former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng created a shell company which opened a bank account that was used to launder tens of millions of dollars in bribes that were stolen from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, prosecutors allege. Jurors at Ng’s trial were shown emails which prosecutors claim prove that his wife, Hwee Bin Lim, “played a central and crucial role” in helping her husband launder ill-gotten gains, according to Bloomberg. Ng is on trial for bribery at Brooklyn federal court for his alleged role in the 1MDB scandal. Federal prosecutors say that Ng, who headed the investment bank’s Malaysia division, conspired with his then-boss, Tim Leissner, and Malaysian financier Jho Low to divert $4.5 billion from 1MDB — some of which Goldman helped to raise through bond sales — to fund a lavish lifestyle. Ng, who has pleaded not guilty, was first extradited from Malaysia to the US in May 2019, but his federal trial was delayed for years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty on all charges. Leissner, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with federal prosecutors, testified against Ng, the only Goldman banker to stand trial in the 1MDB case. An FBI agent assigned to the case testified on Monday that a day before the first 1MDB bond deal closed, Lim looked into creating a shell company. The company was initially called Silken Waters, though the name was later changed to Victoria Square, according to FBI Special Agent Sean Fern. Days after the bond deal was closed, the shell entity, which listed Lim’s mother as the beneficial owner, opened a bank account with UBS Group AG, according to Fern. Prosecutors allege that Low, Ng, and Leissner embezzled at least half a billion dollars after the first bond transaction, which was valued at $1.75 billion, using a UK Virgin Islands-based shell company called Aabar PJS Limited. Leissner testified that he received more than $60 million from Low. The money was funneled into accounts controlled by his then-wife, Judy Chan Leissner. Leissner told jurors that he sent Ng $35.1 million through the shell entity set up by Lim. Ng has claimed that Leissner’s wife sent the money to Lim for an unrelated business transaction. Ng’s attorneys said they plan on calling Lim to testify in her husband’s defense. Earlier in the trial, Leissner copped to the defense’s claim that he was a “double bigamist” — admitting he twice “faked” divorces from women to marry others while he was still legally married. Leissner has admitted to having several affairs, previously describing an episode in which a former lover allegedly blackmailed him into buying her a $10 million mansion after she threatened to reveal the tryst to reality television star and fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons, his future and current estranged wife.

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