MAS Prohibition Orders against Tim Leissner, ex-Goldman Sachs director

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

Taking a very serious view of the matter, MAS intends to issue lifetime POs against Jens Fred Sturzenegger, former branch manager of Falcon Private Bank Ltd, Singapore branch (Falcon Bank) former employees of BSI Bank Limited (BSI Bank) and a 15 year PO against Yvonne Seah Yew Foong.

Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director, Financial Supervision, MAS. Photo courtesy: MAS
Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director, Financial Supervision, MAS. Photo courtesy: MAS

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.”

As per a release issued by MAS, in December 2016, MAS had served notice of its intention to issue a

Tim Leissner, a former director of Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte
Tim Leissner, a former director of Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte

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.

Following careful consideration of the representations made by  Leissner and the relevant facts, 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.

MAS has served a notice of its intention to issue a PO against Sturzenegger, who was the Branch Manager of Falcon Bank from August 2011 to October 2016.

As Branch Manager, 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.

Jens Fred Sturzenegger, former branch manager of Falcon Private Bank Ltd Photo courtesy: Interceder.net
Jens Fred Sturzenegger, former branch manager of Falcon Private Bank Ltd Photo courtesy: Interceder.net

On 11 January 2017, 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 Low Taek Jho as well as his knowledge of Low’s involvement in the bank accounts maintained by Falcon Bank.

Yak was a senior private banker with BSI Bank between 2010 and 2016 and held the designation of Managing Director. He was the relationship manager for Low and Low’s father. As the second most senior private banker after Yak in the latter’s team, Seah closely assisted Yak in managing the relationship with Low and his father.

On November 11, 2016, Yak was convicted on charges of forging reference letters to entities based in Switzerland, using the letterhead of BSI Bank. On 16 December 2016, Seah was convicted for intentionally aiding Yak to forge reference letters. The letters were issued to misrepresent Low’s net worth or conceal the source of Low’s fund transfers. Yak and Seah had also failed to report the suspicious movement of funds by Low.

The proposed POs will prohibit Sturzenegger and Yak for life, and Seah for a period of 15 years, from:

1. performing any regulated activity or acting as a representative in respect of any regulated activity as stipulated under the Securities and Futures Act;

2. taking part, directly or indirectly, in the management of, acting as a director of, or becoming a substantial shareholder of, any holder of a capital market services licence or any exempt person under the Securities and Futures Act.

3. providing any financial advisory service as stipulated under the Financial Advisers Act; and taking part, directly or indirectly, in the management of, acting as a director of, or becoming a substantial shareholder of, a licensed financial adviser or exempt financial adviser under the Financial Advisers Act.

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, 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.

Author
Kareyst Lin
Kareyst Lin – Senior Writer

Kareyst has experience in writing about B2B technology for Computerworld Singapore, MIS Asia and CIO Asia; and on government technology for GCIO Asia. Her pet areas are artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart cities - these are fueled by her obsession with sci-fi movies and philosophy of mind. 

Sometimes she writes with light. 

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