Monetary Authority of Singapore bans Tim Leissner for life

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 19): The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced today that it has increased the ban against Tim Leissner to a lifetime prohibition order (PO) following Leissner’s admission to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-related criminal charges brought against him by the US Department of Justice (US DOJ).

The MAS said in a statement today it had on March 13, 2017 issued a 10-year PO against Leissner, a former director of Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte, to prohibit him from performing any regulated activity under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA), and taking part, directly or indirectly, in the management of any capital markets services firm in Singapore. 

"At its Annual Report Media Conferences in 2016 and 2017, MAS had made clear that it will consider any new evidence related to the 1MDB funds flows and will take further enforcement actions where appropriate. The latest actions against Mr Leissner arose from the close cooperation and continuing investigations by law enforcement and regulatory authorities in the US, Singapore and other countries," the MAS said.

Today, the MAS said the 10-year PO was imposed after Leissner was found to have issued an unauthorised reference letter on behalf of Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC to a financial institution based in Luxembourg where he had made false statements without the firm’s knowledge.

The MAS said today that on November 1, 2018, the US DOJ charged Leissner for conspiracy involving money laundering, and violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practice Act. 

According to the MAS, Leissner pleaded guilty to these charges, and admitted to participating in a conspiracy to obtain and retain business from 1MDB for Goldman Sachs through the promise and payment of bribes and kickbacks to government officials in Abu Dhabi and Malaysia, and by embezzling funds from 1MDB for himself and others.

The MAS said Leissner also admitted to laundering these bribes, kickbacks and funds through financial systems in the US and elsewhere. 

"The US DOJ’s charges and Mr Leissner’s guilty plea have provided further evidence of Mr Leissner’s involvement in funds flows related to 1MDB, which were previously not available to MAS. Since the commencement of investigations into 1MDB-related funds flows in 2015, MAS has been investigating the conduct and involvement of the relevant individuals, including Mr Leissner. The 10-year PO issued against Mr Leissner in March 2017 was based on the limited information available to MAS at that time. MAS was unable to interview Mr Leissner, as he was not in  Singapore and could not be compelled to travel to Singapore to assist in investigations. 

"After careful consideration of Mr Leissner’s admission to participation in the conspiracy, as well as US DOJ’s criminal actions against him, MAS has decided to vary the PO against him under section 101C of the SFA, by:

"(i) extending the duration of the PO to a lifetime prohibition; and

"(ii) expanding the scope of the PO to also prohibit him from acting as a director of, or becoming a substantial shareholder or a capital markets services licensee or exempt person under the SFA. This is in addition to the prohibition from performing any regulated activity under the SFA, and taking part, directly or indirectly, in the management of any capital markets services firm in Singapore that was stipulated in the original PO," the MAS said.