An ex-Goldman Sachs executive testifying in an embezzlement trial against another banker made another stunning admission Thursday when he said that he had faked not one, but two divorces – and used false documents so that he could marry model and reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons.
Tim Leissner, 52, who pleaded guilty to taking part in Malaysia’s 1MDB corruption scandal in 2018, told prosecutors at Goldman Sachs colleague Roger Ng’s trial on Thursday that he was twice married to two women at the same time, Bloomberg reported.
Leissner said he faked divorce documents to marry Simmons, 46, in 2014 while he was still married to Judy Chan, a former analyst at Goldman and the daughter of a coal-mining business owner in China.
‘I photoshopped the divorce document,’ Leissner told the courtroom.
He added that when he and Chan tied the knot in 2000, he was married to another woman, who has not been identified, and submitted fake records to the Hong Kong government to finalize their marriage.
Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner (right), admitted he had been married to two women, twice, faking divorce documents in the US and China. The revelations came as he testified in Roger Ng’s embezzlement trial on Thursday
Leissner said he faked documents to marry Judy Chan (above), a former analyst at Goldman and the daughter of a Chinese coal magnate, in 2000. He then faked documents in 2014 to marry model and reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons
Leissner said Chan was not happy with his marriage to Simmons in 2014. Leissner and Simmons are pictured with their son, Wolfe, who was born in 2015
Leissner and Simmons also adopted a son, Gary, then 10, in January 2020. The family is pictured walking together in 2020
Leissner’s testimony was another look into his scandal-plagued romantic history as Ng’s defense described him as a ‘double bigamist’ who ‘uses women.’ Pictured, a court drawing of Leissner testifying against Ng in the Malaysia ‘s 1MDB corruption scandal
The vague details of Tim Leissner’s marriage history
Tim Leissner was accused of bigamy during Roger Ng’s money laundering trial. The accusation has prompted questions about the banker’s vaguely detailed personal life.
The former Goldman Sachs employee is currently married to model Kimora Lee Simmons.
The pair had a secret wedding. The exact date and location of that ceremony remains unknown, as a marital records search did not yield any results.
The couple was, however, pictured in Saint Barthélemy in December 2013 sporting rings on their left hands. Page Six alleged they may have had a Caribbean wedding during that time.
Leissner and Kimora Lee Simmons share a son, Wolfe, who was born in 2015. They also adopted Gary, then 10, in January 2020.
The couple has since become estranged, although it is unclear when they split.
While marrying Kimora Lee Simmons, Leissner was married to Judy Chan, who currently runs Grace Vineyard, China’s first family-owned winery.
Chan and Leissner met at Goldman when she was working as a junior analyst. It is unclear when exactly they got married, but Bloomberg Quint reported that the feast ‘included suckling pigs with electric lights flashing in their eye sockets.’
Reports had suggested Chan and Leissner divorced in 2013, but Leissner revealed he was still married to Chan when he tied the knot with Simmons.
Chan was using her married name in Grace Vineyard promotional materials in 2012. She appears to have begun using her maiden name in 2013.
Information regarding his alleged first wife’s identity was not disclosed, but Leissner said he was still married to her when he married Chen in 2000.
Leissner said that Simmons was not aware of his actions back then but that Chan was, saying that she was angered by it and refused to transfer $900,000 to his account so he could put a down payment on a new home for him and Simmons in Los Angeles.
‘Judy did not want to make any transfers related to my new family life in Los Angeles,’ Leissner testified. ‘I think she did some research on the Internet and found out I was trying to buy this house.’
Leissner had met Simmons, who was previously married to hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, in business class on a flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur.
The couple reportedly exchanged vows in 2013 – around the time his relationship with Chan fell apart – and had a son, Wolfe, who was born in 2015. They also adopted Gary, then 10, in January 2020.
The revelations came as Leissner was called to testify this week against Ng, Goldman’s former head of investment banking in Malaysia, who is charged with conspiring to launder money and to violate an anti-bribery law.
Leissner agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation and testify against his former associate for a reduced sentence, forfeiting $43 million.
Prosecutors said that Ng, 49, received $35 million in kickbacks for helping embezzle $4.5 billion in funds from 1MDB in a ‘brazen’ scam.
The pair allegedly worked with Malaysian financier Jho Low to divert the money to fund their lavish lifestyle.
NG has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Thursday’s testimony also was the latest look into Leissner’s personal life after Ng’s defense attorney claimed the ex banker was a ‘double bigamist’ who ‘uses women.’
Earlier this week, Leissner admitted that he had a decade-long affair with Rohana Rozhan, MEASAT Broadcast executive and former CEO of Astro Malaysia Holdings.
Leissner testified that Rozhan threatened to reveal his involvement in Ng’s alleged $4.5 billion scheme with the Malaysian government to embezzle money from the 1MDB account in 2013 if he did not siphon $10 million from the fund to buy her a London home, Bloomberg reported.
‘Ms. Rozhan was very upset that I was ending our relationship to be with my future wife, with Kimora,’ Leissner told prosecutors, referring to his estranged wife, model and reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons, 46.
‘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 added that he informed his then-boss Richard Gnodde, head of Goldman Sachs’ Asia business, about his relationship with Rozhan, Bloomberg reported.
Gnodde had allegedly told Leissner to ‘be careful about relationships with clients,’ as Astro was one of the businesses Goldman Sachs was working with in Malaysia.
Leissner said their relationship, which spanned from 2003 to 2013, was an open secret.
‘Pretty much everybody in our Southeast Asia territory knew it,’ he testified.
Rozhan, who resigned from Astro in 2019, could not be immediately reached for comment.
Goldman Sachs declined to comment on Leissner’s testimony.
Rohana Rozhan (above) was in a relationship with Leissner from 2003 to 2013, according to Leissner’s testimony. He said their relationship was an open secret
Rozhan has a London address listed under her name at 42 Montpelier Street (pictured). It is currently unknown if this is the home Leissner paid $10 million for
During his fourth day of testimony on Thursday, Leissner also admitted to pocketing nearly half the $162 million entrusted to him by Low through the 1MBD and borrowing another $1.25 million from Ng that he never returned, Bloomberg reported.
He added that he stole from Low to buy a $50 million boat, part of the Inter Milan soccer team and a Manhattan apartment at 68th Street and Madison Avenue.
Leissner also revealed that he and Ng tried to set up jobs at Goldman Sachs for three children of former Malaysian’ prime minister Najib Razak, who was ousted in 2018 for his alleged involvement in the 1MBD scandal.
Leissner told prosecutors that in 2009, Razak spoke with the Goldman Sachs bankers, along with then CEO- Lloyd Blankfein, at the Four Seasons hotel in New York, asking them to help find positions for three of his five children at the company, Bloomberg reported.
Leissner did not name which of Razak’s kids were part of the proposed deal, only that one daughter had eventually gotten a job at TPS Inc., suggesting it was Nooryana Najwa Najib, who was hired at the company in 2014.
In total, Goldman Sachs will have to pay out more than $5 billion in fines in the scandal, in which former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (above) and his cronies looted billions from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a supposed government investment fund. Leissner said Razak had requested Goldman Sachs hire three of his fire children
Billions of dollars were looted from the sovereign wealth fund in a fraud that allegedly involved former prime minister Najib Razak and his associates
Leissner added that Low was involved in the attempts to get Razak’s children hired as he read an email between him and Ng in the courtroom on Tuesday.
‘Just met PM’s three children with Jho at his apartment,’ Leissner read from the message he allegedly received from Ng. ‘We’ll work on getting them to join GS.’
Leissner replied to Ng: ‘Sounds good my friend. Get them in.’
He said they passed along a daughter’s resume to Goldman Sachs’ office in London, but a company official rejected their request for the daughter to be hired.
‘He basically told me he would not support this so we dropped it,’ Leissner told prosecutors.
He also told the court that he and Ng came up with the codenames ‘Friend’ and ‘PMO,’ which referred to the Prime Minister’s Office, for Low as they worked to secure Goldman Sachs’ ties in Malaysia and the 1MBD account.
Leissner said Low was ‘essential’ to their business because he was a ‘key decision-maker’ in advising Razak and had fed Goldman bankers insider information on how the government was choosing who it would partner with on the 1MBD, Bloomberg reported.
Goldman was competing with JPMorgan Chase, UBS and other major banks for business with the Malaysian government.
Prosecutor Drew Rolle asked Leissner if their information from Low was ‘like having the answers to a test ahead of time.’
‘Yes,’ Leissner said. ‘Because we wrote them.’
The pair allegedly worked with Malaysian financier Jho Low (pictured) to divert the money to fund their lavish lifestyle
‘Roger is 100% innocent,’ defense attorney Marc Agnifilo told the jury. ‘We’re about to actually have a trial of an innocent man.’
The defense argued Ng’s only role was introducing Low to ‘far more involved’ superiors at Goldman who escaped prosecution. The attorney also claimed his client warned company management not to trust Low.
Among the purchases made from the record heist were a vast superyacht called Equanimity, jewels, and even financing for the hit 2013 movie The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Agnifilo told jurors Leissner should not be trusted, claiming the witness secretly recorded co-conspirators in the scheme, but he never found anything incriminating about his client Ng.
Federal prosecutor Brent Wible alleges Ng secretly agreed with Leissner and Low to take hundreds of millions of dollars raised for three bond deals tied to 1MDB that had been intended for development projects in Malaysia.
Low, the accused mastermind behind the scheme, was indicted in the US alongside Ng in 2018.
He has not been arrested by US or Malaysian authorities and his US lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
Prosecutors say Goldman earned $600 million in fees from the deals, and that around $4.5billion of the funds raised was embezzled.
Goldman paid a nearly $3billion fine and arranged for its Malaysian subsidiary to plead guilty in US court.
Leissner said on the stand Wednesday that Ng was Goldman’s lead banker on 1MDB and had cultivated a relationship with Malaysian financier Jho Low starting in 2008, who was the key intermediary between the bank and 1MDB.
Bringing in 1MDB business to Goldman, which ultimately sold $6.5 billion in bonds for the fund and reaped $600 million in fees, ‘instantaneously made us heroes’ within the bank, Leissner said.
‘My greed and ambition took over,’ Leissner said, adding that the fallout from his actions had destroyed his life.
Malaysian socialite Jho Low (right) – the other key player in the scheme – remains at large and is believed to have been granted asylum abroad. In 2012, he threw a lavish 31st birthday bash attended by DiCaprio (left), Kim Kardashian and other celebrities. Low and DiCaprio are pictured at The Wolf of Wall Street World Premiere in Paris in December 2013
He also said bankers at Goldman were expected to be hired on every one of their clients’ deals, and that missing one was considered ‘unacceptable.’
Agnifilo has countered that Leissner, who has not yet been sentenced, has lied to prosecutors about Ng’s involvement in a bid to lighten his punishment.
He spent much of his opening statement attacking Leissner’s credibility, portraying him as a socialite with expensive taste.
Low, who maintains his innocence, became well known in the New York City and Los Angeles club scenes.
In 2012, he threw a lavish 31st birthday bash attended by DiCaprio, Kim Kardashian and other celebrities – a fête described by The Wall Street Journal as the ‘wildest party [Las] Vegas ever saw.’
Pop star Britney Spears is said to have jumped out of a birthday cake to serenade Low.
He also dated Miranda Kerr, who was forced to surrender $8 million in jewelry he gave her amid the 1MDB inquiry.