Tim Leissner (far right), along with Russell Simmons, Shannon Elizabeth and wife Kimora Lee Simmons, attends Netflix's 2014 Golden Globes After Party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 12, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.
Photograph by Jeff Vespa — Getty Images for The Weinstein Company
By Claire Zillman
March 8, 2016

An ex-Goldman Sachs banker connected to a controversial state investment fund in Malaysia has been subpoenaed by U.S. authorities.

According to Bloomberg, Tim Leissner, once the chairman of Goldman’s operation in Southeast Asia and husband of former U.S. model and designer Kimora Lee Simmons, resigned in January after bank investigators found he allegedly violated firm policies, but continued to work for the bank until Feb. 23, according to The Wall Street Journal. He was issued a subpoena in late February.

Leissner gained notoriety for handling bond sales that raised some $6.5 billion for the Malaysian state investment fund, known as 1MDB. Goldman received significantly above-average commissions for its work on those deals.

1MDB has been the target of allegations of corruption as its debt levels have grown. In July, the Malaysian attorney general said it was investigating 1MDB, including hundreds of millions of dollars that had appeared in the bank account of Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak. In January, the attorney general cleared Razak of committing any crimes and said that the $681 million that had appeared in Razak’s bank account was a gift from the Saudi royal family, not from 1MDB.

Leissner’s subpoena comes as authorities in the U.S. also investigate whether funds were embezzled from 1MDB. Bloomberg reports that the FBI’s New York office is leading the investigation and is trying to figure out if any U.S. laws were broken. Goldman is conducting its own probe into its role in 1MDB, though there are no indications that Goldman committed any wrongdoing, Bloomberg says. The firm is also cooperating with the Justice Department’s examination of the fund.

Leissner, a German national, was placed on leave in January after a review of his email allegedly turned up an unauthorized reference letter he’d sent. The letter contained statements that Goldman deemed inaccurate, according to the WSJ, but it is not related to 1MDB.


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