Ex-Goldman banker Leissner barred from US securities industry

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(Oct 4): Tim Leissner, a senior Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker before leaving the firm in the wake of its work with Malaysia’s embattled investment fund, has been barred from the U.S. securities industry for failing to provide documents to a regulator.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued an indefinite bar on Sept. 11, saying Leissner didn’t submit to its requests during an investigation, according to his employment records on Finra’s website. Leissner accepted the findings, without admitting or denying them, according to the self-regulatory body.

 

Leissner, once Goldman Sachs’s Southeast Asia chairman, was an adviser to 1Malaysia Development Bhd., an investment fund set up in 2009 to help the nation build infrastructure. 1MDB ultimately became embroiled in allegations of financial irregularities that sparked probes in multiple countries. Leissner left Goldman last year after questions about the fund, his work on an Indonesian mining deal and a reference letter he allegedly wrote.

 

Finra’s probe was into the reference letter, which was “allegedly both inaccurate and unauthorized” by the firm, according to the filing.

 

Singapore’s monetary authority said in December that it planned to bar Leissner from its securities industry for 10 years because of the reference letter, which it said was on behalf of Low Taek Jho, a Malaysian financier who has been linked to alleged efforts to siphon billions of dollars from 1MDB.

 

Critics questioned Goldman’s earnings from arranging bond sales for 1MDB in 2012 and 2013. Goldman made about $593 million from three bond sales that raised $6.5 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, dwarfing what banks typically make from government deals. Goldman has previously defended the Malaysia fees as representing its underwriting risks and market conditions at the time.

The Wall Street Journal reported Finra’s decision earlier on Tuesday. - Bloomberg