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Three professionals charged with defrauding banks of more than S$3.6m

[SINGAPORE] Three professionals from the financial sector were charged in court on Wednesday with cheating, criminal breach of trust and money-laundering offences that they are said to have committed between 2009 and last year.

Victims in the three separate cases lost more than S$3.6 million altogether, the police said on Wednesday.

Shen Tsu-kuang, 51, a former director of asset management company Linden Asset Management (Belize), is one of the three people accused.

A Taiwanese, he was the director of Linden Asset Management when a BNP Paribas customer engaged the firm to handle her account with the bank.

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Shen acted as a proxy for the customer, relaying instructions to the bank on her behalf. He allegedly submitted instructions, purportedly signed by the customer, to the bank to transfer more than S$2.4 million into Linden Asset Management's bank account. The customer had not authorised the transfers.

The second accused, Singaporean Tan Chen Yen, 36, is a former banking operations specialist with Bank Pictet & Cie (Asia).

He was in charge of handling physical cash stored in the bank's safe, and allegedly misappropriated about S$1.2 million from the safe.

To avoid detection, he replaced the misappropriated cash with counterfeit and blank notes, and manipulated the bank's accounts.

The third accused, Ng Eu Hou, 27, a former loan officer with DBS Bank, allegedly deceived two victims whom he met while attending to their banking-related inquiries.

The Singaporean deceived them into keying in their ATM personal identification numbers to apply for loans amounting to S$4,000 in their names, without their consent or knowledge.

When the victims discovered they had received the loans, he told them that it was an error and advised them to return the amounts to the bank.

He gave them details of his personal bank account, to which the victims transferred the loans.

The police said they take a serious view of financial abuse, manipulation and deception by bank employees that compromise the integrity of the banking and financial sector.

Last Friday, a former OCBC Bank treasury adviser was sentenced to eight years and four months' jail for unauthorised foreign exchange trades that caused the bank to lose almost S$3.1 million.

Lu Chor Sheng, 41, pleaded guilty to 40 charges involving trades in the bank's system using client accounts, leading to profits of around $1.2 million to sole proprietorships set up by his friend, but whose bank accounts Lu controlled.

His acts went undetected for two years, and the prosecution said he had grossly abused his position of trust to benefit himself.

THE STRAITS TIMES