Hourglass

Ex-Goldman banker’s trial jury showed receipts instead of jewelry

(Bloomberg) – The jury in the trial of a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker finally got a look at the hard evidence of the treasures bought with money allegedly looted in the multi-billion dollar corruption scandal. dollars 1MDB.

Bloomberg’s Most Read

But jurors couldn’t see the $23million pink diamond necklace big enough to be a paperweight created by prestigious New York jeweler Lorraine Schwartz for Rosmah Mansor, the former Premier’s wife Malaysian minister.

They weren’t even shown a picture of the necklace. They saw an invoice.

And that’s how it went in federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday, where prosecutors were closing their case and showing jurors how billions of dollars embezzled from three $6.5 billion 1MDB bond deals by the financier Malaysian Jho Low were used to buy luxury items.

Read more: Ex-Goldman Banker’s 1MDB booty bought $20,000 hourglass and diamonds

Low is also accused of diverting funds from 1MDB to former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s son-in-law, Riza Aziz, who was a friend of the financier, to help produce “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

The jury saw a photo of the film’s plastic DVD case – and a screenshot of the credits thanking Low for his support. Aziz’s production company Red Granite agreed in 2018 to pay $60 million to settle claims by the US Department of Justice that it funded the film and other footage with money stolen from 1MDB.

Prosecutors say an entity controlled by Low also used 1MDB money to buy five works of art from Christie’s auction house for $58.3 million, including $51.8 million spent on a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat entitled “Dustheads”.

Other bills were presented to the jury, along with a vignette of “Dustheads”.

Schwartz, who has designed for celebrities like Beyonce, Adele and Blake Lively, could have been a witness in the case. But she instead made a statement that prosecutors placed on the official court record.

Low contacted Schwartz in June 2013, asking the jeweler to create a pink diamond necklace with a heart-shaped gem at its center for Mansor, according to the jeweler’s records. But as Mansor demanded an 18-carat diamond, “Ms. Schwartz said she only had a 22-carat pink diamond,” and a $23 million deal was struck for the larger stone.

Schwartz then personally delivered the necklace to Mansor while she was staying aboard a yacht with Low off Monaco, records show. Mansor then purchased an additional $1.3 million worth of jewelry from Schwartz in 2014, records show.

How Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal rocked the financial world: QuickTake

Roger Ng, the only Goldman banker to stand trial in the scandal, is accused of conspiring with his former boss Tim Leissner to help Low siphon off billions of dollars from a trio of bond deals the bank made to the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund. Low, who was also charged with Ng in the fraud, is a fugitive. Leissner pleaded guilty, is cooperating with the United States, and testified against Ng at trial.

Neither Najib nor Mansor have been charged by the United States and the couple’s lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment. Mansor has been charged with bribery offenses related to 1MDB in Malaysia, while her husband is appealing his bribery conviction.

Bloomberg Businessweek’s Most Read

©2022 Bloomberg LP