August 10, 2022

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner admitted Tuesday that he sent fake emails for years while posing as his ex-wife Judy Chan – the latest revelation about past shenanigans during the ongoing embezzlement trial of his former coworker Roger Ng.

Leissner is the prosecution’s star witness in the case against Ng, who faces federal charges over his alleged role in Malaysia’s 1MDB corruption scandal. Ng’s defense team has sought to raise questions about Leissner’s credibility by highlighting sordid details about his personal and professional life – previously accusing him of being a “double bigamist.”

While testifying on Tuesday, Leissner admitted that he pretended to be Chan, his then-wife, in emails sent to this future wife, model Kimora Lee Simmons, as well as Malaysian financier Jho Low. Leissner and Ng purportedly worked with Low to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars from Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign development fund.

Leissner said he initially posed as Chan in the fake emails to convince Simmons – who he was dating – that they were no longer legally married.

Tim Leissner admitted to posing as his then-wife Judy Chan for years in fake emails.
South China Morning Post

The former star banker kept up the charade for years, pretending to be his ex-wife while exchanging messages about everything from family vacations to a claim that Simmons was responsible for an IRS audit of Leissner’s finances, Bloomberg reported. Leissner said he didn’t “remember” sending the email about the IRS audit.

Leissner acknowledged using the alias to repeatedly deny Simmons’ request that Chan accompany them on family vacations to Paris, a Caribbean island and other locations. He once claimed, while posing as Chan, that she couldn’t attend a trip because she and her children were hurt in a car crash.

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Ng’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, told the court the emails helped prove that Leissner was a “rare cunning liar” whose testimony should not be trusted.

Tim Leissner and Kimora Lee Simmons
Tim Leissner used fake emails in a bid to convince his then-girlfriend Kimora Lee Simmons that he was divorced.
Araya Doheny

At one point during the proceedings, Agnifilo pressed Leissner on whether the emails revealed “an entire life you completely falsified because you made the whole thing up?”

“The correspondence, yes,” Leissner replied. “But an entire life may be too far.”  

Ng’s defense team also detailed instances in which Leissner used the fake email account to chat with Low in 2016, when the financier was attempting to sell art to Chan.

When asked why he faked those emails, Leissner claimed he was trying to “protect” Chan from Low.

Tim Leissner
Tim Leissner is the prosecution’s star witness in the case against his former colleague, ex-Goldman banker Roger Ng.
Tim Leissner and Kimora Lee Simmons Leissner with their son seen in 2016.
Tim Leissner and Kimora Lee Simmons Leissner with their son seen in 2016.
Randy Brooke

“I wanted to pacify him or be friends. I wanted to make an effort or appear I was attempting to help him,” Leissner said.

Leissner, a former partner for Goldman Sachs’ Asia division, already pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He agreed to forfeit $43.7 million and faces sentencing later this year.

Earlier in the trial, Leissner copped to the defense’s claim that he was a “double bigamist” – admitting he twice “faked” divorces from women to marry others while he was still legally wed.

Leissner has admitted to having several affairs, previously describing an episode in which a former lover allegedly blackmailed into buying her a $10 million mansion after she threatened to reveal the tryst to Simmons, his future wife.

Ng’s defense attorney has argued Leissner “uses women, he uses false intimacy, and now he’s trying to use my client to get him to do his jail time.”

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Ng, Goldman’s former head of investment banking in Malaysia, faces federal charges of conspiracy to launder money and violate US anti-bribery laws. He has pleaded not guilty.