Zeti’s husband says he didn’t take bribe to ensure BNM approves US$1 billion transfer

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Tawfiq denies knowing Leissner and Ng.

Tawfiq Ayman, the husband of former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, denied a court testimony claiming that he received a bribe to ensure US$1 billion (RM4 billion) was wired overnight from Malaysia to a 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-PetroSaudi joint venture in 2009.

He said he is shocked at the testimony by former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner and will seek legal advice on what to do next.

Media reported Tawfiq’s statement today, following Leissner’s testimony in a trial involving his subordinate, Roger Ng, in a New York court yesterday.

Ng was Goldman Sachs’ Malaysia investment head and is on trial for bribery.

Tawfik said the claim is untrue and denies knowing both Leissner and Ng.

“Neither have I met nor communicated with either of them.

“I wish to categorically state that throughout my entire life, I have never received any bribe from anyone.

“In view of the ongoing proceedings in New York, I have been advised to not make any further comment as it may amount to sub judice.

“We will be seeking legal advice on the next course of action to be taken on the statements made against me,” he said in a statement from legal firm Messrs Jagjit Ariff & Co.

The US$1 billion was 1MDB’s investment into the joint-venture.

Leissner testified that the funds had been “wired overnight” and “it had been done because the husband of the then governor Zeti at Bank Negara Malaysia had received a bribe to make that happen”.

In 2009, he added, Malaysia had strict capital controls, and an investment of that amount leaving the country would have to be approved by the central bank.

Leissner did not mention Tawfiq by name. He also said he cannot “independently confirm” whether a bribe had been paid when asked by prosecutors.

The central bank in a statement today said all submissions made by 1MDB, including the transaction concerned, were subject to the same approval criteria and internal governance process, as with its handling of all other investments abroad.

Ng, 49, is on trial for conspiring with Leissner and 1MDB mastermind Low Taek Jho to launder money embezzled from the state-owned enterprise and violating United States anti-bribery laws. He is the only former Goldman Sachs banker to go on trial in the scandal. – TMI


Earlier report:

Feb 23, Leissner mentions ‘bribery’ involving ex-BNM governor’s husband