The bribery trial of ex-Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Roger Ng turned tabloid for a while on Tuesday as Ng’s former boss Tim Leissner testified that a media CEO with whom he had an affair blackmailed him into buying her a $10 million home.
Asked by prosecutor Drew Rolle about his extramarital affairs, Leissner cited several, including one with Rohana Rozhan, former chief executive officer of media company Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd. The relationship lasted from 2003 to 2013, he told the jury.
Rolle asked Leissner whether he had ever given Rozhan any money he received from his 1MDB work. Leissner said he had – and that he bought her a $10 million home in London in 2013 after she’d threatened to expose his involvement with 1MDB.
“Ms. Rozhan was very upset that I was ending our relationship to be with my future wife, with Kimora,” Leissner testified, referring to his wife Kimora Lee Simmons. “If I didn’t buy her a house, she would tell the authorities about my involvement in the 1MDB scandal. She was threatening to expose me. At the time, 2013, I was very fearful of that.”
Leissner pleaded guilty in 2018 to a count of conspiracy to violate U.S. anti-bribery laws and to conspiring to launder money.
Leissner said he’d discussed his relationship with Rozhan with his then-boss, former Asia head Richard Gnodde, when it first started. It was a sensitive issue because Goldman did business with Astro, Leissner said. Gnodde, who now runs the bank’s international business, told Leissner to “be careful about relationships with clients,” the ex-banker testified.
Still, Leissner said that he “continued with the relationship for another 10 years.”
“Pretty much everybody in our Southeast Asia territory knew it,” he said.
Rozhan resigned from Astro in 2019. She didn’t immediately reply to a message seeking comment that was sent to her LinkedIn account outside regular business hours. Emails to Astro and Gnodde also weren’t immediately returned. -BLOOMBERG