Event congratulating Rosmah for being conferred the International Peace and Harmony Award.
Fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho had attempted to solicit Goldman Sachs’ help in booking a number of top US politicians to appear at a “charity event” attended by Rosmah Mansor in 2010.
This was revealed by convicted former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner during his testimony on Tuesday (Feb 22) at the trial of his former subordinate Roger Ng at a New York court.
Prosecutor Drew Rolle showed the court an email by Low, better known as Jho Low, that was forwarded by Ng to Leissner. The witness was made to read it aloud.
“He writes, ‘Hi, Tim, this is the charity event that Jho has asked us for help. Attendees are expected to be Bloomberg, Cuomo, Schumer, and others.’
“Would Lloyd be able to reach out to President Clinton. It’s a black tie and we might be expected to attend especially if we can facilitate,” wrote Low and read out for the court by Leissner.
Leissner explained to the court that Low was seeking his help to use the Goldman Sachs network, in particular, that of Lloyd Blankfein, who was the chairperson and CEO of the company at the time.
“(Low wanted) Blankfein to connect or to essentially get President Clinton to be participating in one shape or form in this event for the First Lady of Malaysia,” he said.
Blankfein is publicly pro-Democrat. The names mentioned in Low’s email are likely references to other powerful New York democrats – Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, Chuck Schumer and ex-president Bill Clinton.
Jay replied through email, the court is told, and asked: “Are you asking if Lloyd can ask on behalf of the First Lady of Malaysia (for) Bill Clinton to attend this event? Happy to try to be helpful but just want to make sure I know exactly what the ask is and who the client is, et cetera?”
Rolle: And you further responded and said, ‘The client would be the government of Malaysia?
Leissner: Right, yes.
When asked why he had approached Jay, Leissner explained that building connections for Rosmah and her husband Najib Abdul Razak, who was the prime minister at the time, would benefit Goldman Sachs.
He said the move would show the market that Goldman Sachs was very well connected.
“It was my view at the time that helping facilitate any kind of connection that the prime minister was looking for, seeking, or his wife, who was really influential with her husband, would benefit us both in terms of just relationship with the prime minister and thereby the government of Malaysia.
“We would also be seen in the Malaysian community and the Malaysian market as a powerful move that we were able to connect the prime minister and his wife into very important people elsewhere in the world, in this case, President Clinton,” he said.
Leissner said that the event was entirely organised by Low. Leissner said he and Ng both attended the event.
In 2010, Najib had attended the inaugural Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC on April 12 and April 13. The event organised by Low took place on April 16 at the five-star St Regis hotel in New York.
There was little Malaysian media attention on the event. Bernama reported that Rosmah received the “International Peace and Harmony Award” from the US Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) during the event at the St Regis.
Eventually, news leaked that Hollywood stars Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron and Emmy Rossum, were in attendance. Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx emceed the event and, according to some reports, performed a duet with Rosmah.
It is uncertain if any of the top New York Democrats mentioned in Low’s email were present. De Niro eventually visited Malaysia three months later at Rosmah’s invitation.
In conjunction with Rosmah’s visit to New York, someone had placed a two-page advertisement in the New York Times, welcoming her to New York and congratulating her on being conferred the “International Peace and Harmony Award”.
According to the defunct Nut Graph, NYT initially told them that the advertisement was paid for by the “Government of Malaysia”. Two weeks later, Nut Graph ran another story on NYT’s retraction and said the ad was paid for by “Family and friends in the USA and Malaysia”.
On July 1, 2010, then Padang Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan complained that the prime minister’s office had skirted his written question for a breakdown of the cost of bringing Rosmah to the US. – Malaysiakini
Feb 23, Leissner mentions ‘bribery’ involving ex-BNM governor’s husband