MAS bans 2 ex-bankers over fraud, dishonest conduct convictions

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has banned two former bankers for fraud and dishonest conduct following their convictions in the State Courts in separate cases.

Lu Chor Sheng, a former treasury adviser with OCBC Bank, was served with a 17-year prohibition order (PO), while Timothy Tan Swee Thiam, a former relationship manager at United Overseas Bank (UOB), was banned for nine years, the regulator said in a statement yesterday.

The POs bar the individuals from performing any regulated activity under the Securities and Futures Act, and from providing any financial advisory service under the Financial Advisers Act for the period stated.

The orders against the duo took effect on Thursday, MAS said.

They are also barred from taking part in the management, acting as a director or becoming a substantial shareholder of a capital market services or financial advisory firm.

Lu was convicted of abetment of cheating under the Penal Code, unauthorised modification of the contents of OCBC’s system under the Computer Misuse Act (CMA) and offences under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act. He was sentenced to 100 months in prison.

Between January 2011 and June 2013, Lu used the OCBC accounts of a friend to place unauthorised forward foreign exchange (FX) trades with off-market rates in the bank’s system, so that he could buy lower and sell higher than the prevailing market rates.

To realise profits, Lu placed additional unauthorised trades in his customers’ accounts as counterparties to the trades placed in his friend’s accounts and told his customers that these were erroneous trades that would be reversed at no loss to them.

Lu also instigated a friend to impersonate a customer to place unauthorised orders with OCBC, in order to close off unauthorised FX trades that he had placed in those customers’ accounts.

When discovered by OCBC, the bank closed the outstanding contracts in Lu’s customer accounts.

It suffered a total loss of $3.09 million.

Meanwhile, Lu made a profit of about $1.09 million from his misconduct and used the monies to buy foreign currencies and repay debts.

Tan, the former UOB banker, was convicted of criminal breach of trust under the Penal Code and offences under the CMA. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Tan’s friend, a UOB customer, had entrusted her UOB bank accounts, Internet banking security token and UOB ATM card to him.

Between March 2015 and January 2016, Tan made unauthorised Internet bank transfers amounting to around $263,500 from this customer’s UOB account to his personal bank account to pay for his living expenses.

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