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Singapore declares lifetime ban for ex-Goldman Sachs Asia chief Tim Leissner

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today banned former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner for life after his plea deal with the U.S. Justice Department admitting his role in the 1MBD scandal. 

The MAS, Singapore’s central bank and financial regulatory authority, imposed the lifetime ban following Leissner’s “admission to criminal charges” in the United States.

Leissner is the former chairman of Goldman Sachs in Southeast Asia. He pleaded guilty in November to FCPA and money laundering conspiracies in connection with a plot to loot the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, formally known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

The Singapore order bars Leissner from any regulated activity under the Securities and Futures Act, and participating directly or indirectly in the management of any capital markets services firm in Singapore.

The ban extends the 10-year prohibition the MAS issued against Leissner last year. 

In the United States plea deal, Leissner was ordered to forfeit $43.7 million. He’ll learn the rest of his sentence later.

Another ex-Goldman banker, Ng Chong Hwa, 51, also known as Roger Ng, was charged by the DOJ with conspiring to violate the FCPA and launder money.

Goldman Sachs underwrote more than $6 billion in bonds issued by 1MDB in three separate bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 while Ng was a managing director.

The indictment also charged Low Taek Jho, 36, also known as Jho Low, a Malaysian businessman allegedly at the center of the plot to steal billions of dollars from 1MBD.

The DOJ alleged that Low, Ng, Leissner, and others conspired to bribe officials at 1MDB and in Abu Dhabi to win business for Goldman, including the 2012 and 2013 bond deals. They allegedly stole the proceeds from the bond deals and used some of the money to take kickbacks and pay bribes to officials at 1MDB and in Abu Dhabi.

The DOJ said they conspired to launder the money in the United States by buying “luxury residential real estate in New York City and elsewhere, and artwork from a New York-based auction house, and by funding major Hollywood films,” including the Wolf of Wall Street.

In Malaysia earlier this year, police charged former Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife with laundering money looted from 1MDB.

During raids on the couple’s houses and condos, Malaysian police recovered $273 million worth of jewelry, handbags, and other valuables.

Police also seized cash in 26 currencies with a total value of $28.6 million.

The DOJ has filed forfeiture actions against nearly $1.7 billion in assets linked to 1MDB.


Harry Cassin is the managing editor of the FCPA Blog.

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