China Police Block Visit for StanChart Banker’s Fiance
The fiance of a Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) private banker who was detained in China days before the couple planned to wed in Singapore said police barred him from seeing her after he refused to stop speaking out about the case.
Jason David Tan, 34, had been scheduled to meet with Wu Yidian Eden in a hotel in Jiangyin, the city in coastal Jiangsu province where she’s being detained, he said in a telephone interview late yesterday. Police are investigating one of Wu’s clients, who allegedly fled with as much as $50 million embezzled from Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. (601288), Tan said.
Police told Tan they would only allow him to meet Wu, 31, should he promise to stop speaking with the media and posting information on the Internet. Tan said he’s concerned his fiancee will be held for longer if he stops making public comments.
Wu has worked for Standard Chartered for nine months and is an associate director in the Shanghai private banking division, he said. The banker, a naturalized Singaporean citizen, was taken into custody on March 6, two days before she and Tan were scheduled to fly to Singapore for their wedding, he added.
Standard Chartered, the U.K. lender whose pretax earnings from China doubled in 2011, is among foreign companies expanding private banking in China to tap its growing wealth. Chinese millionaires will hold $8.76 trillion of assets by 2015 as their number is set to more than double, according to a study by Julius Baer Group and CLSA Asia Pacific Markets in September.
Wu was allowed to meet her parents and two representatives of the Singaporean consulate yesterday, and she and Tan later spoke by phone, he said. The police have prevented her from meeting her lawyer or a lawyer representing the bank, Tan said.
Five telephone calls by Bloomberg to the Jiangyin police press office and its economic crimes unit went unanswered today.
Standard Chartered is liaising with Wu’s family and lawyer and providing support, Melissa Cheah, a spokeswoman for the bank in Singapore, said in an e-mailed reply to queries yesterday.
The Agricultural Bank worker involved in the case was employed at a sub-branch in Yaosai in Jiangyin city, a press official for the Chinese lender in Beijing said yesterday by e- mail, declining to be identified because of company policy.
The press official wouldn’t name the employee, comment on his or her whereabouts or discuss the allegations. The case is being investigated by the police and the bank will provide any necessary assistance, the official said.
Standard Chartered on March 15 said that Wu, a relationship manager, had been detained by police, without giving a reason. The London-based lender says it’s not being investigated.
The bank, the third-largest foreign lender by branches in China, said Feb. 29 it planned to expand its network to more than 100 outlets, from about 81 at the end of last year.
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