Banker jailed for forging signatures to move assets

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2012, 12:00am


A banker who used forged documents to move assets worth millions of dollars from a client's account was jailed yesterday for four years and eight months.

Choi Yuet-yan, 45, had pleaded guilty in District Court to seven charges, including dealing with the proceeds of an indictable offence and using a false instrument.

Choi was an employee of ING Asia Private Bank when she moved HK$500,000 and bonds worth 50 million yen (HK$4.82 million) from a client's account to help her husband and brother-in-law, the court heard.

Choi had known the client, a 63-year-old retired woman, since 2000. In 2007 the client opened an investment account at the bank and Choi became her relationship manager.

A number of documents that the client appeared to have signed were in fact never signed by her. These included a letter authorising the transfer of HK$500,000 to a firm, a letter ordering the transfer of bonds worth 50 million yen to an account belonging to Choi's brother-in-law, and a consent letter agreeing that a portfolio in the client's account be used as security for trading in the brother-in-law's account. There was also a letter acknowledging a loan of US$1.3 million to be drawn by the brother-in-law.

Because of those documents, prosecutors said, HK$500,000 was transferred to the company, the bonds were transferred to the brother-in-law's account and the portfolio became security for his trading.

The brother-in-law received the US$1.3 million 'loan' that was then transferred to a company owned by Choi and her husband.

Choi's activities were discovered after she had left the bank, which changed its name to Bank of Singapore in 2010. The employee who oversaw the accounts of Choi's former clients discovered that the victim client was listed as guarantor for some trades by Choi's brother.

The employee learned that the client had never signed the documents.

Deputy District Judge Pang Chung-ping said Choi's conduct could damage the bank's reputation and could affect the public's trust in the banking system.

Choi has repaid the full amount taken from the client's account.