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1MDB mastermind partied like there was no tomorrow

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At the height of the 1MDB scandal, fugitive financier Jho Low, who stars in the best-selling book Billion Dollar Whale, partied like there was no tomorrow.

Millions of dollars were syphoned off in the greatest money-laundering case of all time, according to a witness in the federal conspiracy trial of former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng in Brooklyn, New York.

Ng is suspected of colluding with Tim Leissner, a former top Goldman banker, to help Jho Low, a now-fugitive financier, steal the cash in exchange for bribes.

The jury heard from a government witness how a quarter-million dollars for Leonardo DiCaprio, a US$385,773 bar tab, and $5,000 for “model wrangling” were disbursed as if nothing was wrong.

The ex-banker, who testified before the authorities, recounted how millions of dollars stolen in the 1MDB affair were spent on lavish parties held by the high-flying Malaysian financier.

Food, beverages, “talent,” and “high-class models,” among other goods, totalled more than US$3.6 million in invoices from a Jho Low party in Las Vegas. 65 bottles of Cristal Champagne and a gratuity of US$38,955 were included in the large bar bill.

According to authorities, Low used some of the US$700 million he got off within the global scheme to pay for the bills.

As the prosecution described the fruits of a scam stretching from Malaysia to Wall Street, the jury got a look at some celebrity fees: The panel was told, Low partied like there was no tomorrow.

Alex Cohen, the chief financial officer of Strategic Group, an entertainment and marketing firm that organised parties for Low, testified about the numbers that flew from the 1MDB. 

Cohen reported a series of parties that included Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jamie Foxx, and Fergie as attendees and entertainment.

Ng, the only former Goldman Sachs employee to stand trial in the US for the scandal, is charged with conspiring to violate US anti-money-laundering laws.

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