Media Releases
Published Date: 19 December 2018

MAS Bans Tim Leissner for Life

Singapore, 19 December 2018…The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced today that it has increased the ban against Mr Tim Leissner to a lifetime Prohibition Order (PO). This follows Mr Leissner’s admission to criminal charges brought against him by the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ).

2   On 13 March 2017, MAS had issued a 10-year PO against Mr Leissner, a former director of Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte., to prohibit him from (i) performing any regulated activity under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA), and (ii) taking part, directly or indirectly in the management of any capital markets services firm in Singapore. This PO was imposed after Mr Leissner was found to have issued an unauthorised reference letter on behalf of Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C. to a financial institution based in Luxembourg where he had made false statements without the firm’s knowledge.

3   On 1 November 2018, the US DOJ charged Mr Leissner for conspiracy to (i) commit money laundering, and (ii) violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practice Act. Mr Leissner has pleaded guilty to these charges, and admitted to participating in a conspiracy to (i) 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, and (ii) launder these bribes, kickbacks and funds through financial systems in the US and elsewhere. 

4   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. 

5   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.

6   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.