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Goldman Sachs's Leissner said to move to Los Angeles, take leave

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Oil's collapse to US$27 a barrel last week spurred concern that, on top of the existing oversupply, the market is facing a demand crisis. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. thinks that's wrong.

[HONG KONG] Tim Leissner, the Goldman Sachs Group Inc executive who helped build the investment bank's Malaysia business, has relocated to Los Angeles and is on personal leave, people familiar with the matter said.

Mr Leissner, who has been with Goldman Sachs for almost 18 years and was most recently Singapore-based chairman of its South-east Asia operations, remains an employee, said the people. They asked not to be identified discussing a private matter. Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

An e-mail sent to Mr Leissner's Goldman Sachs address yielded an automatic reply saying: "I'm currently out of the office on personal leave with no access to emails." It didn't say when he will return to work. Calls to his mobile phone went to voice mail.

Mr Leissner, a German national who is married to former US fashion model and designer Kimora Lee Simmons, was instrumental in building Goldman Sachs's business in Malaysia. The bank's dealings with the country's state-owned investment company, 1Malaysia Development Bhd, drew public scrutiny because of the high fees Goldman was paid.

Three 1MDB bond sales in 2012 and 2013 totaling US$6.5 billion yielded fees, commissions and expenses for Goldman Sachs of US$593 million, or about 9.1 per cent of the money raised, a person familiar with the matter said earlier. 1MDB subsequently become entangled in a political scandal due to its ballooning debts and its ties with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Both the premier and 1MDB have consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Leissner was appointed as head of investment banking in Singapore in August 2002 and was made a partner in 2006. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1998 as an executive director in its mergers advisory business.

The banker was involved in a number of large transactions such as billionaire T Ananda Krishnan's 2009 initial public offering of Maxis Bhd, the country's largest mobile-phone operator. Later that year, Goldman Sachs received a license from Malaysia's Securities Commission to set up fund management and corporate finance advisory operations in the country.


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