The scandal of Goldman's secret agent

1MDB case highlights the risks of reputational damage as over-eager banks and consultants scramble for deals in emerging markets

Goldman Sachs has faced many crises in its time but none more shocking than the case of Tim Leissner, its former senior partner in South-east Asia. Wall Street is supposed to bring transparency to emerging markets, not to make corruption easier.

Leissner, who has admitted to laundering money and bribery, was corrupted in spectacular fashion. He pleaded guilty to conspiring with Malaysian Low Taek Jho, a flamboyant deal fixer, to gain for Goldman a lead role in US$6.5 billion (S$9 billion) of bond financing for 1MDB, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund. He also helped to channel US$2.7 billion into bribes, including US$4 million of jewellery for an official's wife. Low maintains his innocence.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2018, with the headline 'The scandal of Goldman's secret agent'. Print Edition | Subscribe