TIM LEISSNER (picture) had a side job working for the family office of David Bonderman, the billionaire co-founder of TPG Inc., while he was still a partner at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the former star banker told a jury Wednesday.
Leissner, the key witness in a money-laundering trial of his former colleague Roger Ng, said that in 2015 he made more than $41,000 a month in a role at Wildcat Capital Management, which manages Bonderman’s personal fortune. Leissner said he didn’t disclose the conflict to Goldman, where, at the time, he was chairman of Southeast Asia. Leissner, who didn’t provide details on his role, left Goldman in 2016.
Leissner, who pleaded guilty to his role in a scam that saw billions looted from the Malaysian wealth fund known as 1MDB, is cooperating with the U.S. He was questioned for several days by Ng’s attorney who tried to undermine the banker’s credibility by showing the jury evidence of Leissner being “a rare cunning liar,” hammering him for lies he said he told to prosecutors, federal agents, company officials and regulators, as well as his multiple wives and girlfriends.
“Mr. Leissner was never a Wildcat employee,” Wildcat said in a statement. “He did serve as a consultant beginning in the summer of 2015 but was immediately terminated when the circumstances around his departure from Goldman Sachs became known.”
Earlier in the trial, Leissner said that he helped secure a job at TPG Asia for the daughter of Malaysian prime minster Najib Razak after compliance prevented him from doing so at Goldman. Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison in Malaysia in connection with the 1MDB scandal. The U.S. says that some $2.7 billion of the $6.5 billion Goldman helped raised for 1MDB was stolen by people connected to Najib.
Leissner has admitted to pocketing more than $60 million in kickbacks for facilitating the 1MDB bond deals, and to getting paid $12 million by Goldman the first year he did so. Still, he testified that dissatisfaction with pay motivated his and Ng’s wheeling and dealing, and that the two tried to supplement their income with deals that weren’t approved by the bank.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2016 that Leissner briefly held an advisory role at Wildcat after he left Goldman that same year.