A former responsible officer of Goldman Sachs (Asia) has been banned from re-entering the Hong Kong financial services industry for life for his involvement in the embezzlement of funds from Malaysia’s beleaguered sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
On 3 July 2019, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said it “considers that [Tim] Leissner’s conduct demonstrates a serious lack of honesty and integrity”.
It also called into question his fitness and properness to be a licensed person.
He was previously authorised by the SFC to carry on Type 4 (advising on securities), Type 6 (advising on corporate finance) and Type 9 (asset management) regulated activities between 1 April 1998 and 24 February 2016.
Bribes and kickbacks
Leissner, a German national, was charged with “conspiracy to commit money laundering”, and “violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practice Act” by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in August 2018.
To which he pleaded guilty.
He also admitted to conspiring 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”.
As well as to “laundering these bribes, kickbacks and funds through financial systems in the US and elsewhere”.
He was ordered to forfeit $43.7m by a US court.
Banned for life
Hong Kong is not the only jurisdiction, however, to take permanent action against Leissner.
He previously received a lifetime prohibition order from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which has been investigating 1MDB-related fund flows since 2015.
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