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MAS bans former Goldman Sachs banker for life

This article is more than 12 months old

Tim Leissner admits to charges related to investigation into 1MDB

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said yesterday it had issued a lifetime prohibition order against former Goldman Sachs' banker Tim Leissner after he admitted to charges related to an investigation into scandal-plagued Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The ban is an upgrade of MAS' 10-year prohibition order against Leissner issued last year.

The order, among other things, prevents him from performing any regulated activity under the Securities and Futures Act.

Goldman Sachs has been under scrutiny for its role in helping raise funds through bond offerings for 1MDB, which is the subject of investigations in at least six countries.

"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," the MAS said in a statement.

Goldman Sachs has consistently denied wrongdoing.

In a related development yesterday, a Malaysian former Goldman Sachs banker was formally charged in court over the multi-billion-dollar scam surrounding 1MDB.

Ng Chong Hwa - a former managing director at the bank - was charged on four counts relating to abetment of false statements to a financial regulator.

CLAIM TRIAL

"Plead not guilty. Claim trial," a handcuffed and shaven-headed Ng, 46, told the court in a soft tone.

He faces at least 40 years in jail if found guilty of all the charges.

Earlier yesterday, Malaysia moved to extradite Ng to the US for his alleged involvement in the scam.

Washington had requested his extradition in October after bringing three criminal charges against him, including corruption and money-laundering.

Deputy public prosecutor Shukor Abu Bakar told AFP that a legal application has been filed under the extradition treaty between the two countries.

Public prosecutor Manoj Kurup later told reporters that there was no conflict between the filing of the US extradition application and the charges against Ng for his involvement in 1MDB transactions arranged by Goldman Sachs.

"They (the US) had filed charges (against Ng). They can wait for us," he said.

The court set March 18 for mention to fix possible trial dates and offered a bail of US$239,205 (S$327,700).

The alleged offences by Ng - commonly known as Roger - are punishable by jail in the US.

Ng will fight the extradition attempt, his lawyer Tan Hock Chuan said earlier. - REUTERS, AFP

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