Tim Leissner 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, the former star banker told a jury on Wednesday.
Leissner, the key witness in the money laundering trial of his former colleague, Roger Ng, said that in 2015 he made more than US$41,000 a month in a role at Wildcat Capital Management, which manages Bonderman’s personal fortune.
Leissner said he did not disclose the conflict to Goldman where, at the time, he was chairman of Southeast Asia. Leissner, who did not provide details on his role, left Goldman in 2016.
Leissner, who pleaded guilty to his role in a scam that saw billions looted from 1MDB, is cooperating with the US authorities. He was questioned for several days by Ng’s attorney who tried to undermine the banker’s credibility by showing the jury evidence of him being “a rare cunning liar”.
“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 he helped secure a job at TPG Asia for the daughter of former prime minister Najib Razak after compliance prevented him from doing so at Goldman. Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison in connection with SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB. The US says that some US$2.7 billion of the US$6.5 billion Goldman helped raise for 1MDB was stolen by people connected to Najib.
Leissner has admitted to pocketing more than US$60 million in kickbacks for facilitating the 1MDB bond deals, and to getting paid US$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 were not 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.