Chairman of Goldman Sachs SE Asia operations quits as FBI swoops in on scandal involving Malaysian Prime Minister

Tim Leissner, the senior executive who helped Goldman Sachs build its Malaysian business, has left the company under a very dark cloud which has put an end to his career as one of Wall Street’s most famous and high profile figures. Mr. Leissner was involved in the sale of US dollar bonds for a state fund […]

Chairman of Goldman Sachs SE Asia operations quits

Tim Leissner, the senior executive who helped Goldman Sachs build its Malaysian business, has left the company under a very dark cloud which has put an end to his career as one of Wall Street’s most famous and high profile figures.

Mr. Leissner was involved in the sale of US dollar bonds for a state fund in Malaysia which was intended to boost the country’s economy, however allegations of corruption emerged, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the United States and authorities in Switzerland have begun investigating claims that approximately £2.8 billion had disappeared from the Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), and had indeed been misappropriated.

1456636968323
Tim Leissner and Kimora Lee Simmons

The Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, whose copybook was blotted by a case which was brought against him accusing him of corruption in his own country, concerning a donation of £475 million to his personal bank accounts in the advent of his election in 2013. He was since cleared of any corruption allegations and walked free.

Mr. Leissner, who is married to model Kimora Lee Simmons, has enjoyed a life at the very top of South East Asian society, resembling star status.

His close relationships with highly influential people in the Arabian Gulf region as well as South East Asia, including billionaire Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, who announced that a corporation which he owned was to take over energy firm Malakoff Bhd in what it termed “the largest acquisition ever undertaken in Malaysia.” Goldman Sachs was an adviser on the deal, and in 2006, Mr. Leissner became a partner in the company.

Subsequently, that company assisted the management of billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan’s 2009 initial public offering (IPO) of Maxis Bhd., Malaysia’s biggest wireless operator. Mr Krishnan also controlled Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd., the largest pay-TV broadcaster, and Goldman Sachs had involvement in its IPO, with Mr. Leissner at the helm.

Whilst Goldman Sachs has offered no comment to any media source with relation to this particular scandal, Mr. Leissner has been issued with a subpoena by the US authorities. This means that he may be obliged to testify in court or provide documents.

It emerged in January that Mr. Leissner had relocated to Los Angeles and taken ‘personal leave’.

The Attorney General of the Malaysian government has stated publicly that the money had originally belonged to the Saudi Arabian royal family, however Switzerland’s criminal investigation has detailed that money from 1MDB was transferred to accounts held in Switzerland by various former Malaysian public officials and both former and current public officials from the UAE.’

Mr. Leissner began his extremely ambitious journey in the Far East approximately 10 years ago, when he appeared on an interview in Malaysia with a government-owned news agency, about 3 years before the current prime minister, Najib Razak, assumed office in 2009.

In 2006, Goldman Sachs had an application to begin operations for fund management and corporate finance approved, and Mr. Leissner began embarking on very high profile business deals and courted the media.

By the time Prime Minister Najib Razak assumed office, Mr. Leissner and his wife had escalated to the very top of Malaysia’s social circles, with their presence at Najib Razak’s pre-election speech at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco in 2013 being among the top level of guests, with Kimorna Lee Simmons and Mr. Leissner photographed alongside Nijab Razak and his wife.

The investigations by the FBI and Swiss authorities are continuing, and probes into whether Goldman Sachs misled 1MDB bondholders or broke anti-corruption laws are well underway.

Read this next

Retail FX

Malaysia regulator exposes OctaFX clone, shady FB profiles

Malaysia’s financial regulator today warned online investors about the risks of following investment tips made on social-media platforms.

Digital Assets

Crypto trading volume spikes at Swiss bourse amid FTX collapse

The shockwaves from the historic collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire are still being felt across the industry, but some trading venues are actually doing better because of it.

Executive Moves

CMC Markets adds Camilla Boldracchi to institutional sales

UK’s biggest spread better, CMC Markets has promoted Camilla Boldracchi to take on an expanded role within its institutional sales desk.

Institutional FX

FXSpotStream reports $1.48 trillion in monthly volume for November

FXSpotStream’s trading venue, the aggregator service of LiquidityMatch LLC, reported its operational metrics for November 2022, which moved higher on a yearly basis but reflected weak performance across executed trade volumes when weighed against the figures of the prior month.

Retail FX

Interactive Brokers’ client activity drops 30% YoY

Interactive Brokers LLC (NASDAQ:IBKR) saw 1.95 million daily average revenue trades, or DARTS, in November 2022 compared to 1.96 million transactions in the prior month.

Digital Assets

The rise of Crypto ETPs in traditional exchanges as crypto winter deepens

Institutional investors are increasingly looking at traditional regulated exchanges as their first route into digital assets amid market turmoil caused by the crypto winter and the collapse of several big names within the space, including FTX. Acuiti and Eurex surveyed 191 buy and sell-side firms on their views of the digital assets markets in order […]

Digital Assets

TP ICAP’s crypto arm receives FCA’s go-ahead

UK interdealer broker TP ICAP has received a regulatory go-ahead to launch its cryptocurrency services in the UK. The bid shows that the recent collapse of FTX exchange has done little to damp the interest of big names in running their own crypto business.

Industry News

Coin Signals founder to pay $2,847,743 after prison sentence over crypto Ponzi scam

The U. S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has ordered Jeremy Spence, founder of Coin Signals, to pay $2,847,743 in restitution to victims of a fraudulent virtual currency scheme.

Digital Assets

CME Group goes DeFi: Reference rates and real-time indices of Aave, Curve, Synthetix

“These rates are designed to provide traders, institutions and other users transparency and price discovery across a much broader range of tokens, allowing them to confidently and more accurately value cryptocurrency sector specific portfolios and manage price risk around various blockchain-based projects.”

<