Singapore bans Tim Leissner for 1MDB-related breaches

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Tim Leissner and wife Kimora Lee were all linked to the 1MDB scandal

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a 10-year Prohibition Order (PO) against Tim Leissner, a former director of Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte (GS S’pore).

MAS said in December 2016, MAS served notice of its intention to issue a PO against Leissner and invited him to submit written representations as to why a PO should not be made against him.

Leissner was found to have issued in June 2015 an unauthorised letter to a financial institution based in Luxembourg, and to have made false statements on behalf of Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C., without the firm’s knowledge.

MAS has decided to issue a PO for a period of 10 years against Leissner with effect from 13 March 2017.

Leissner will be prohibited for a period of 10 years from: (i) performing any regulated activity under the Securities and Futures Act and (ii) taking part, directly or indirectly, in the management of any capital market services firm in Singapore.

Under a PO, a person is banned from performing any regulated activity under the Securities and Futures Act and taking part, directly or indirectly, in the management of any capital market services firm in Singapore.

MAS has also served notice of its intention to issue POs against three other individuals who were investigated by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) on 1MDB-related matters, and consequently convicted by the Courts in Singapore.

The three individuals are Jens Fred Sturzenegger, former branch manager of Falcon Private Bank Ltd, Singapore branch (Falcon Bank), as well as Yak Yew Chee and Yvonne Seah Yew Foong, both of whom were former employees of BSI Bank Limited (BSI Bank).

Given the gravity of their misconduct, MAS intends to issue lifetime POs against Sturzenegger and Yak, and a 15-year PO against Seah.

Sturzenegger was responsible for ensuring the sound management of Falcon Bank and its compliance with regulations, notices and directives issued by MAS, as well as any other relevant laws and regulations.

On 11 January 2017, Mr Sturzenegger was convicted on several charges, which included (i) consenting to Falcon Bank’s failure to file any suspicious transaction report on the inflows into Falcon Bank; (ii) failing to disclose information on suspicious outflows from Falcon Bank; and (iii) furnishing false information to MAS and CAD to cover up his relationship with Mr Low Taek Jho as well as his knowledge of Mr Low’s involvement in the bank accounts maintained by Falcon Bank.

MAS has also served notice of its intention to issue POs against Yak and Ms Seah, former representatives of BSI Bank.

Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision), MAS, said, “MAS will not tolerate conduct by any finance professional that threatens to undermine trust and confidence in Singapore’s financial system.

“MAS will not hesitate to bar such individuals from carrying out regulated activities in the financial industry. It is imperative that industry professionals and representatives of financial institutions are fit and proper persons. They must be worthy of the trust that people place in them and their institutions.”

Leissner was a representative of GS S’pore from June 2002 to February 2016, and a director of GS S’pore from June 2007 to September 2011.  However, from November 2011 onwards, Mr Leissner was based in Hong Kong.

Under the Representatives Notification Framework, Yak was an appointed representative of BSI Bank from November 2010 to May 2015, while Seah was an appointed representative of BSI Bank from November 2010 to December 2015.