What is Malaysia's nickname
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Prologue: 2009, Malaysia, Singapore: In spite of the financial crisis, the US investment bank Goldman Sachs International is on a roll in Southeast Asia. As the only western bank, it has established itself at the top of the local investment banks. The Americans advise on the largest Malaysian takeovers and accompany the largest companies on the trading floor.
Goldman Sachs' puller in Malaysia is a German: the dazzling investment banker Tim Leissner. He is considered a charismatic, well-wired dealmaker. He rakes in millions for Goldman in investment banking. His nickname says it all: Rainmaker. But soon Leissner is said to have gone from bad to worse. This is his story.
Leissner has investment banking in its DNA
Tim Leissner is an investment banker through and through. After studying at the University of Siegen, Leissner joined Goldman Sachs in 1998 through various positions in investment banking at JP Morgen and Lehman Brothers - initially in M&A advisory. Leissner rises quickly there. Just four years later, the Americans sent him to Singapore to head investment banking. Leissner is successful: in 2006 Goldman made him a partner, in 2009 he was promoted to head of Southeast Asia.
The German Goldman banker has managed to penetrate deep into Malaysian high society. He even has good contacts with Prime Minister Najib Razak. In 2009, the latter set up the “1MDB” state fund to promote regional economic projects. But Leissner is pulling the strings, who, according to a Bloomberg report, collects a total of 6.5 billion US dollars for the fund. Goldman Sachs International makes a lot of money from it. A total of 600 million dollars are said to have flowed in fees.
It is these successes that make Goldman overlook the extravagant lifestyle of their rainmaker. Leissner describes the “world” as an “indestructible permanent party guest” who has the great talent to show up at the meetings the next morning, even after a night of partying. For the rainbow press, Leissner is a hit. She explains in detail about his dazzling marriage to the former American model Kimora Lee and about his supposedly bought doctorate.
High society drops Leissner deeply
Unlike the Goldman executives, these reports make an impression on the authorities in several countries. The Singapore Financial Market Authority MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) is one of these countries. The Malaysian sovereign wealth fund structured by Leissner even triggered a real state crisis when it became known that around 681 million dollars of the fund were said to have flowed into the private account of Prime Minister Najib Razak. Several countries then started investigations into possible corruption and money laundering.
The MAS believes that Leissner is also involved in the corruption scandal. He is said to have written a letter in June 2015 allegedly approving a payment from the fund to a dubious financial institution in Luxembourg. The problem: Goldman states that this was done without the consent of the bank. The Americans then part with their star banker.
Tim Leissner: Goldman is banned from working in Singapore
For Leissner, things are going to be tough now. A few days ago, the Singapore Financial Market Authority imposed a ten-year professional ban on him in the small city-state below Malaysia. The MAS deputy head was clear: "It is imperative that employees and representatives of financial institutions are suitable and honest people." The MAS does not tolerate a financial professional undermining trust in Singapore's financial system.
The financial supervisory authorities apparently tolerated the fact that Leissner's employer did not properly control his Rainmaker for years. In connection with the corruption scandal, penalties were imposed on several banks for violating the Money Laundering Act. Standard Chartered has to pay 3.4 million euros, Coutts Bank 1.6 million euros. Goldman Sachs, on the other hand, has not yet been held financially accountable in Singapore.
philipp.habdank [at] finance-magazin.de
They are rich, they are educated, they rake in millions for their bank. Above all, however, they make faux pas with preferences and produce scandals non-stop - in short: They enrich our lives. There are more bizarre banker stories on the FINANCE blog "Inglorious Bankers".
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