Hong Kong regulator bans former Goldman banker Tim Leissner for life over 1MDB scandal

An estimated $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates between 2009 and 2014. (AFP)
Updated 03 July 2019

Hong Kong regulator bans former Goldman banker Tim Leissner for life over 1MDB scandal

  • Tim Leissner has already been barred from the banking sector in the United States and Singapore
  • An estimated $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates between 2009 and 2014

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s financial regulator has banned former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner from re-entering the industry for life for his crimes linked to the multi-billion-dollar scandal at the Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB.
The sanction is latest for Leissner who has already been barred from the banking sector in the United States and Singapore for his links to the scandal. Goldman itself is being probed by the US Justice Department for its role as underwriter and arranger for $6.5 billion worth of 1MDB bonds.
Apart from Leissner, another former Goldman banker Roger Ng and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho have been charged in the United States for links to the alleged theft of billions of dollars from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
An estimated $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates between 2009 and 2014, the US Justice Department has alleged.
Leissner, a former partner at Goldman Sachs in Asia, pleaded guilty last August to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and agreed to forfeit $43.7 million.
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said it considered Leissner’s conduct demonstrated “a serious lack of honesty and integrity” and called into question his fitness and properness to be a licensed person.
A Goldman Sachs spokesman said Leissner deliberately hid certain activities from the bank and repeatedly violated its policies and procedures.
“We continue to cooperate with all authorities looking into these matters,” he said.
A lawyer for Leissner could not be immediately reached in the United States outside of usual business hours.
Leissner was licensed under Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Ordinance for activities including advising on securities and corporate finance for Goldman Sachs between April 1, 1998 and Feb. 24, 2016, the SFC statement said.
He is currently not licensed by the SFC, it added.
In March, the US Federal Reserve barred Leissner and Ng from the banking industry for their involvement in “a scheme that illegally diverts billions of dollars from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.”
Singapore’s central bank had also issued a lifetime prohibition order against Leissner in December last year, upgrading a 2017 10-year prohibition order against him.
At least six countries, including Malaysia, which has also filed charges against Goldman and its two former bankers, the United States and Switzerland, have been investigating the alleged thefts from 1MDB.


Saudi female student pilot aims high with flying ambitions

Updated 19 November 2019

Saudi female student pilot aims high with flying ambitions

  • Amirah Al-Saif is among the first batch of 49 female students

DUBAI: Saudi women aiming to emulate Yasmeen Al-Maimani’s feat, the Kingdom’s first female commercial pilot, now have that opportunity as Oxford Aviation Academy has opened its doors for them to take flying lessons and earn their licenses.

One those women raring to earn her pilot wings is 19-year-old Amirah Al-Saif, who enrolled in the aviation academy to fulfill her dream of flying for the Kingdom’s national carrier Saudi Airlines (Saudia).

“They have been very supportive of us females,” Al-Saif, who hails from Riyadh, told Arab News at the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow, when asked about her experience at the academy.

Al-Saif is among the first batch of 49 female students, with six of them already in ground school, expected to receive their licenses by the start of 2021 after a grueling course that requires them to first learn English, Mathematics, Physics and other basic knowledge subjects.

She is also the first in the family to have an interest in the aviation industry.

Student pilot Amirah Al-Saif, right, who hails from Riyadh, is the first in the family to have an interest in the aviation industry. (Supplied)

Those who pass the foundation program can then move on to ground school for practical lessons and ideally graduate in two years with three licenses: the Private Pilot License, Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot License.

Al-Saif considers herself lucky since she was not constrained take courses abroad for her pilot training, unlike Al-Maimani who had to leave the Kingdom to receive her license, as well as wait for a long time before being eventually hired by Nesma Airlines.

The flying school is located at the King Fahd International Airport in Dammam and is an authorized branch of Oxford Aviation Academy based in the UK.

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