1MDB banker got a 'bad karma' warning before scandal exploded

Roger Ng (pictured) stands charged with conspiracy in the looting of sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - The wife of the former Goldman Sachs banker on trial over the 1MDB scandal told the jury her feng shui master warned her husband's boss of "bad karma" - a prediction that seems to have come true.

Hwee Bin Lim, the wife of ex-Goldman Sachs Group banker Roger Ng, was testifying for Ng on Tuesday (March 29) as he stands charged with conspiracy in the looting of sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd or 1MDB.

Lim told the jurors that she and Ng arranged for feng shui readings with a "Master Pang" for Ng's boss, Tim Leissner, in 2015 and 2016. Leissner, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the US against Ng, has testified that the master told him a "female" would "be helpful to him in the future". He said that when he met with Lim and Ng to discuss one of the feng shui readings, the three agreed to give authorities a "cover story" for a US$35 million (S$47 million) kickback for Ng.

But on Tuesday, Lim told the federal panel in Brooklyn, New York, that the female in question was Leissner's daughter. She said the meeting was just to discuss the reading.

Feng shui is a common practice in East Asia used to read favourable and unfavourable signs and energy flows.

Lim told the jury she and her husband consulted the master annually ahead of the Chinese New Year and whenever they were looking for a new home or office.

"Don't cause bad karma," Lim said Master Pang warned Leissner. "Whatever bad is coming is coming out of your mouth."

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