Staff at Fubon Bank subsidiary held in bribes-for-loans inquiry
Joshua But and Phyllis Tsang
Anti-graft officers have arrested 13 employees of a Fubon Bank subsidiary in the city for allegedly accepting bribes from machinery dealers to facilitate loan approvals totalling HK$50 million.
The detainees include 10 marketing staff and three credit officers, some of them believed to be at managerial level.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption yesterday disclosed the arrests, made in November in an operation codenamed Invisible Fist.
It said all the suspects had been released on ICAC bail while inquiries continued.
The ICAC, which did not reveal the name of the bank, said the arrested staff were suspected of accepting advantages from a number of machine dealers and loan applicants. 'In return, the arrested bank employees were alleged to have facilitated the loan applications for the purchase of various machines,' it said.
The ICAC said those arrested, 11 men and two women, had also allegedly falsified loan-supporting documents, including quotations and sale and purchase documents.
Some Hong Kong and mainland manufacturers were granted loans even though they did not meet the bank's requirements.
The loans subsequently approved by the bank totalled about HK$50 million, part of which had been repaid, according to the ICAC.
The anti-graft body said the case had been referred to it by the bank and the bank had co-operated fully during its inquiries.
Fubon Bank last night confirmed that employees of Fubon Credit, a wholly owned subsidiary, were being investigated by the ICAC. It said customers would not be affected.