Inong Malinda Dee, a former relationship manager at Citigroup Inc.’s Indonesia unit, stole more than $5 million from clients by having them sign blank transfer forms or forging their signatures, a prosecutor said.
Dee used the forms to transfer $5.15 million from Citigold rupiah and dollar accounts, without the clients’ knowledge, from January 2007 to February this year, according to an indictment read by a team of six prosecutors, led by Tatang Sutarna, on the first day of Dee’s money laundering and banking law violation trial at the South Jakarta district court yesterday.
Dee, who is 49 according to the indictment, denies the charges, Batara Simbolon, one of her 15 lawyers, told reporters after the trial was adjourned. The defense declined to file “exceptions” or challenges, to the indictment, because it would delay the proceedings while the judge considered them, Simbolon said.
Indonesia’s central bank in May banned Citigroup from adding new wealth management clients for one year, opening new branches for a year and from using third-party debt collectors for two years after local police accused Dee of stealing from clients and a separate probe into the death of a credit card customer at one of its Jakarta offices.
“This incident was isolated to a single branch in Jakarta. Citibank identified the suspicious transactions and informed the local regulators and the police,” said Mona Monika, a Citibank spokeswoman. “We continue to offer our full cooperation and assistance to the authorities.”
Dee, who was detained March 24 after Citigroup reported her to the national police, faces five to 20 years imprisonment if convicted, Simbolon said.
Citigroup reported the alleged theft by Dee, a relationship manager who handled more than 200 accounts of about 500 million rupiah ($56,000) each, to the police following a complaint by a client on March 11, Hotman Simbolon, a vice president for customer care at Citigroup, said at a hearing on April 6.
Police seized four cars from Dee, including a Mercedes E350 Coupe, a Ferrari F430 Scuderia and a Ferrari California.
“This case hasn’t been completed, it still has long way to go,” Dee said in an interview yesterday.