Singapore Bans Bankers Linked to 1MDB

Singapore Bans Ex-Goldman Banker Linked to 1MDB From Working in Financial Sector

Tim Leissner banned for 10 years; three more people from other banks face bans

SINGAPORE—Singapore’s central bank banned a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker from operating in the financial sector and said it plans to ban three more people from other banks, following investigations linking them to alleged financial fraud involving Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said in a statement Monday it would ban Tim Leissner, who was the director of Goldman’s local branch and the firm’s Southeast Asia chairman, for 10 years after it found he had made false statements without the bank’s knowledge.

The other individuals facing bans have been found guilty by Singapore courts of various financial crimes related to 1MDB. They are Yak Yew Chee and Yvonne Seah, former bankers at the Singapore branch of Swiss private bank BSI SA, and Jens Sturzenegger, a former Singapore branch manager of Falcon Private Bank. The MAS is proposing lifetime bans for Mr. Sturzenegger and Mr. Yak, while Ms. Seah faces a 15-year ban.

The bans effectively prevent the four individuals from performing any service or activity in Singapore’s financial markets, including providing financial advice or representing a financial firm.

Mr. Leissner was Goldman’s point man on lucrative deals involving 1MDB, The Wall Street Journal has reported. The MAS in December said it planned to ban Mr. Leissner after it found he had written a recommendation letter for a Malaysian financier, Jho Low, in June 2015. In it, Mr. Leissner falsely claimed that Goldman had performed due diligence on Mr. Low.

Mr. Low, whose full name is Low Taek Jho, is considered by investigating authorities in the U.S. the mastermind of a massive alleged fraud at 1MDB that spread world-wide. Some investigators have described it as one of the world’s largest-ever financial swindles. Mr. Low took no formal role at 1MDB but ran the fund behind the scenes, say people who worked there.

1MDB didn’t reply to a request for comment on Monday. The fund has previously denied wrongdoing and said it would cooperate with any lawful investigation. Malaysian authorities have also cleared 1MDB of wrongdoing. Attempts to reach Mr. Low, who has denied wrongdoing, were unsuccessful.

Goldman said previously that it had reported Mr. Leissner’s dealings with Mr. Low to Singapore authorities and would cooperate with authorities. The bank said Monday it stood by that statement. Mr. Leissner left Goldman in February last year after the bank put him on leave. Attempts to reach a representative for Mr. Leissner weren’t successful.

Falcon Bank’s Mr. Sturzenegger was convicted of several financial crimes including failing to report suspicious transactions and providing false information to authorities in an attempt to cover up his relationship with Mr. Low.

A lawyer for Mr. Sturzenegger declined to comment. Falcon Bank declined to comment, but has previously said that it is initiating new control measures to prevent future issues and that it has been cooperating with authorities.

Mr. Yak and Ms. Seah were both convicted late last year after pleading guilty to multiple counts of failing to report suspicious transactions and of forging reference letters on behalf of Mr. Low.

Singapore Bans Ex-Goldman Banker Linked to 1MDB From Working in Financial Sector
Tim Leissner banned for 10 years; three more people from other banks face bans
March 13, 2017 – WSJ


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