Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s dirty laundry has been airing in a New York courtroom, from a fast-escalating racket to loot Malaysia’s wealth fund to the handsome compensation given a high-flying grifter.

Tim Leissner, a former top banker at Goldman and the star witness in the federal bribery trial of his colleague Roger Ng, has spent the last week recounting troubling behavior that went on for years at Goldman and would make a compliance officer’s skin crawl. 

And he’s not done. Leissner, who pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme that pilfered billions from the fund known as 1MDB through a series of bond deals arranged by Goldman, is due back in court Tuesday for more testimony. He’s cooperating with prosecutors.

Among his many admissions so far: frequently lying to compliance officers, working on unapproved side deals, trying to get Goldman jobs for the Malaysian prime minister’s kids, arranging hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes, pocketing more than $60 million in kickbacks for facilitating 1MDB’s bond deals, and getting paid $12 million by Goldman the first year he did so.

In fact, Leissner told the jury, the bank showered praise on him and his team for their lucrative work on the first bond transaction—so they figured they’d do it again. The firm congratulated him on “an amazing transaction for Goldman Sachs” and he called the 1MDB relationship “a marriage made in heaven.” 

“We were all very enthusiastic and euphoric about our success” with the $1.75 billion Project Magnolia, as the first bond deal was called, said Leissner, 52. “Accordingly, we were quite keen on engaging with 1MDB again.”

And they did.

‘A Replica’
Ng, 49, was Goldman’s head of investment banking in Malaysia and Leissner, then head of Asia investment banking, was his boss. Ng is accused of conspiring with Leissner and Malaysian financier Jho Low, now a fugitive, to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from three deals totaling $6.5 billion for the fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd., through kickbacks and bribes to Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials. Low, a fugitive, engineered the scheme, according to the U.S. The deals generated $600 million for Goldman.

The second transaction, which also raised $1.75 billion, was called Project Maximus and was intended to be “a replica” of the first deal, with the same institutions and the same people getting bribes and kickbacks, Leissner told the jurors. Almost immediately after closing Maximus, he and Low began working on a third 1MDB bond issuance, Project Catalyze, for $3 billion, according to the U.S. 

But Leissner said he and Ng weren’t paid a kickback on that deal. He said Low told him the cash had to go toward funding the prime minister’s re-election campaign, providing handouts to voters—many of whom “are actually fairly poor,” he said.

Leissner and Ng had code words for their kickbacks that they would use on BlackBerry Messenger when they worried they might not get the money, Leissner told the court.

“I think it was that the cakes or the cookies weren’t coming fast enough,” he said.

Goldman spokeswoman Maeve DuVally declined to comment on Leissner’s testimony. The scandal cost the bank more than $5 billion in fines and forced its Asia division to plead guilty to a U.S. criminal charge.

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