March 7 (Bloomberg) -- Inong Malinda Dee, a former relationship manager at Citigroup Inc.’s Indonesia unit, was convicted of stealing from clients by a three-judge panel and sentenced to eight years in jail.
Dee, who denied the charges, was also fined 10 billion rupiah ($1.1 million), according to a ruling delivered by Judge Gusrizal at the South Jakarta district court today.
Prosecutors had accused Dee, 49, of wrongfully transferring more than $5 million from her clients’ accounts from 2007 to February 2011. Dee made the clients sign blank transfer forms or forged their signatures, according to prosecutors, who sought a 13-year jail term and a 10 billion rupiah fine.
Dee’s case and a separate probe into the death of a Citigroup credit card customer at one of its Jakarta offices led Indonesia’s central bank to impose sanctions on the New York-based bank. Bank Indonesia is also taking steps to improve anti-fraud measures at lenders in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.
“From the time we first identified the suspicious transactions in our customers’ accounts, we have worked closely with our regulators and the police to ensure the responsible persons were held accountable,” Citigroup spokesman Richard Tesvich said. The lender has compensated clients for the related losses, he said.
Batara Simbolon, one of Dee’s 17 lawyers, said his client will consider appealing today’s ruling. He said the 8-year jail term was “fair” as prosecutors had asked for 13 years.
Debt Collectors Case
A panel of three judges at the same court on March 1 cleared two of Citigroup’s external debt collectors of all charges in the March 29, 2011 death of Irzen Octa, according to their lawyer Wirawan Adnan. Three other debt collectors were sentenced to one year in jail for harassment, Adnan said.
While Citigroup and its employees weren’t on trial, the verdict in that case confirmed there was no physical violence toward Octa, the bank’s Jakarta-based spokeswoman Mona Monika said.
Citigroup, banned by Bank Indonesia from adding new wealth management clients and opening new branches for one year, reported the theft by Dee after a customer complained. Dee, who joined the lender in 1989, had handled more than 200 accounts of about 500 million rupiah each while she was at Citigroup. Dee was also found guilty today of violating Indonesia’s banking laws and money laundering.
“Indonesia is an important market for Citi globally,” Citigroup’s Tesvich said. “We continually strengthen our processes and controls to protect customers against fraudulent activities.”
Police seized four cars from Dee, including a Mercedes E350 Coupe, a Ferrari F430 Scuderia and a Ferrari California. Dee had owned a condominium next to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Jakarta, according to the court files.
Citigroup had said Dee’s annual salary was between $42,000 and $98,000, excluding incentives. She earned at least $200,000 including bonuses, had outside business interests and had total assets of $7 million, according to her lawyer Simbolon.