ICBC executive sued by ex-employer Deutsche Bank over US$4 million transfer

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 August, 2014, 5:46pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 August, 2014, 5:06am

A top executive of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is being sued by his former employer over the transfer of US$3.9 million to an offshore company, a High Court writ shows.

The lawsuit demands that Zhang Hongli, now senior executive vice-president of ICBC, pay Deutsche Bank more than US$6.3 million as compensation for all losses plus interest.

Zhang, also known as Lee Zhang, held senior positions in Deutsche Bank from 2001 to 2010.

He caused a Hong Kong branch of Deutsche Bank to move US$3.9 million to the account of a company called Harperskille at the Shenzhen branch of China Merchants Bank, according to the writ.

The sum had accumulated interest of more than US$2.3 million by now, it said.

Zhang's appointment with ICBC - the world's biggest bank by total assets - in April 2010 made him the first Chinese employee of a Western financial institution to be recruited as a senior manager at a state lender.

He is also a member of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Deutsche Bank did not specify in its lawsuit details of the transaction with Harperskille.

It said only that Zhang breached his contract with the bank and caused it to suffer losses.

Deutsche Bank asked for damages "by reason of the misrepresentations" Zhang made to the bank that induced it to transfer the money to Harperskille.

The bank also claimed damages from him for "conspiracy with Harperskille to injure the bank by unlawful means", the writ said.

Harperskille is an offshore service provider incorporated on August 13, 2003, but it has been dormant since May 1, 2007. It has a registered address in Prince Edward, Kowloon.

Additional reporting by Bien Perez