The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that Tim Leissner, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker is in talks with U.S. prosecutors for a potential guilty plea to criminal charges in the 1MDB scandal.
Leissner is alleged to be one of the main responsible party in a scheme to steal billions of dollars from Malaysian state investment fund, the Journal said.
Leissner is said to have aided the Malaysians in his position at Goldman Sachs, which he denies.
The Malaysian government under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said it wants Goldman Sachs to return the money they obtained as profit from the 1MDB deal.
The bank is said to have made a hefty 10% profit from the loans raised for the 1MDB.
Leissner’s plea would involve his cooperation with the U.S. government’s criminal-fraud probe into 1MDB and Goldman, the Journal said.
Mr Leissner could plead guilty to the charge of violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The act bans the use of bribes to foreign officials to get or keep business, according to some of the people familiar with the matter.
In Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian anti-corruption agency said it has completed its investigation in the local aspects of the 1MDB money laundering scandal.
It has charged Najib for three counts of Cheat By Trust and one count of abuse of power.
However, these charges are related to the SRC International, a subsidiary of the 1MDB which routed money from the sovereign fund to Najib’s personal account.
The MACC is now focusing its investigation on the RM2.6 billion found in Najib’s account and other monies taken from the 1MDB and scattered around the globe in a complex labyrinth of fictitious accounts.
Najib has denied any wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty in the cases against him in Malaysia.
The MACC is also corroborating the information it has on the 1MDB scandal with foreign investigators to decide on the next move they will make against Najib.
“Investigators have said 1MDB was used by former Prime Minister Najib Razak as a political slush fund and by associates of his to buy real estate, art and other luxuries from London to Beverly Hills, Calif. The U.S. Justice Department alleges in civil lawsuits that $4.5 billion was taken from the fund,” said the Journal.