One of Goldman Sachs’ most senior executives in Asia is on personal leave after a scandal in Malaysia drew scrutiny to high fees paid to the bank, Bloomberg reports.
Goldman’s Southeast Asia chairman Tim Leissner is believed to be moving to Los Angeles with his wife — former model Kimora Lee Simmons, who is setting up a fashion business in the city — and their children.
According to Bloomberg’s report, emails to Leissner are returning with the message “I’m currently out of the office on personal leave with no access to emails.”
A representative for the bank declined to comment on Leissner’s move.
Leissner became president of Goldman Sachs’s Singapore operation in 2006, and in 2014, he took over as chairman of Goldman’s whole Southeast Asian business. The Financial Times reports that Leissner was crucial in the bank’s dealings with powerful figures in Malaysia, including prime minister Najib Razak.
The revelation of Leissner’s personal leave comes just two days after Malaysia’s attorney general cleared the country’s prime minister, Najib Razak, of wrongdoing over a $680 million (£477 million) payment to his personal account. The payment is beleived to be from Saudi Arabia’s royal family.
A major anti-corruption body in the country has said it will challenge the ruling,
Alongside his political role, prime minister Najib is also the chairman of the advisory board for 1MDB, a state run investment fund which has also been under scrutiny after being found to have $2.3 billion (£1.62 billion) held in offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands.
Goldman’s dealings with 1MDB came under scrutiny in Malaysia in 2013 when it was found that the bank would recieve a $300 million (£211 million) fee after arranging a $3 billion bond for the fund, a much higher payment than would normally be made on a bond transaction.
At the time, Goldman said that it was being paid so much because of the high level of risk involved in buying unrated bonds and then selling them on. In October, the FBI began informal inquiries into Goldman’s role in 1MDB’s dealings, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Both Najib and 1MDB have consistently maintained that they have not committed any crimes, and there is currently no suggestion that either Leissner or Goldman Sachs has engaged in any wrongdoing.