Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho and former top banker Tim Leissner had played “matchmaker” for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to engage the services of US bank Goldman Sachs for 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the High Court heard today.
Testifying against former prime minister at the 1MDB corruption trial, the firm’s former chief executive Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi said Jho Low had played the facilitator on Najib’s behalf while Leissner acted for Goldman Sachs’ then chief executive Lloyd Craig Blankfein.
The meeting was conducted in a suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York on November 22, 2009, said Shahrol.
“At the end of November 2009, Najib had a meeting with foreign investors in New York, US. At that time, I received a request from Jho Low to fly to New York to be with the prime minister to meet with investors interested in dealings with 1MDB.
“I flew to the US with Tan Sri Che Lodin Wok Kamarudin on November 21, 2009, to meet with the prime minister as well as foreign investors,” he said, referring to 1MDB former chairman.
“To my memory, the next day, November 22, 2009, a meeting was held between Prime Minister Najib and Goldman Sachs (Global) CEO Lloyd Craig Blankfein. Jho Low and Tim Leissner, who was the CEO of Goldman Sachs Asia, were the matchmaker for the meet.”
Shahrol then recalled observing how close both Low and Leissner were to each other based on their body language and conversation.
He then told the court that Low had impressed upon him that the meeting was to discuss cooperation between Goldman Sachs and 1MDB for foreign investment.
“To my memory, Najib had told Lloyd to ask Goldman Sachs to support and consult 1MDB investment due to Goldman Sach’s expertise in the field of finance and investment.
Shahrol recalled the meeting had discussed potential investment opportunities in the energy, agriculture, property and tourism sectors.
“I had thought at the time that the prime minister had asked Goldman Sachs to be committed in 1MDB. After the meet, I had high confidence towards any financial consultation that was done by Goldman Sachs,” he said. – MMO