SEC Charges Former Goldman Sachs Executive With FCPA Violations


Tuesday, December 17, 2019  / 04:17AM /  By SEC  /   Header Image Credit: FinanceFeeds   


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday announced charges against former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive Tim Leissner for engaging in a corruption scheme, by which he obtained millions of dollars by paying unlawful bribes to various government officials to secure lucrative contracts for Goldman Sachs. Leissner has agreed to a settlement of the alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) that includes a permanent bar from the securities industry.


According to the SEC's order, beginning in 2012, Leissner, as participating managing director of Goldman Sachs, used a third-party intermediary to bribe high-ranking government officials in Malaysia and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  The order finds that these bribes enabled Goldman Sachs to obtain lucrative business from 1Malaysia Development Berhard (1MDB), a Malaysian government owned investment fund, including underwriting $6.5 billion in bond offerings. The order further finds that Leissner personally received more than $43 million in illicit payments for his role in facilitating the bribe scheme.


"Individual conduct lies at the heart of all bribery schemes," said Charles Cain, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division's FCPA Unit. "Here, Leissner abused his leadership role at Goldman Sachs by engaging in a massive bribery scheme targeting the highest levels of two foreign governments in order to bring in lucrative business to the firm and enrich himself."


Leissner consented to the SEC's order finding that he violated the antibribery, internal accounting controls, and books and records provisions of the federal securities laws and agreed to be permanently barred from the securities industry. 


The SEC's order requires Leissner to pay disgorgement of $43.7 million, which will be offset by amounts paid pursuant to a forfeiture order as part of a resolution in a previously instituted parallel criminal action by the U.S. Department of Justice.


The SEC's investigation was conducted by Eric Heining and Paul G. Block of the FCPA Unit and Mark Albers and Martin Healey of the Boston Regional Office. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Department of Justice Criminal Division's Fraud and Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Sections, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Securities Commission of Malaysia, and the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong.


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