Ex-Sumitomo Mitsui Branch Deputy Arrested for Suspected Fraud

  • Police say suspect obtained $1.7 million using fake account
  • Bank dismissed 54-year-old in July after reporting to police

A former Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. deputy branch manager was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of stealing money from the bank using a fake account.

Hiroshi Minamihashi, 54, is suspected of receiving about $1.7 million from November 2015 to June 2016 after setting up a foreign-currency deposit account using a false company name, according to a Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department official. He allegedly used the bank’s computer system to enter false information to deposit money into the account, the official said by phone.

Minamihashi hasn’t been charged and couldn’t be reached for comment. The Tokyo-based unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. reported the matter to the police after detecting wrongdoing in June, the lender said in an e-mailed statement. It dismissed Minamihashi on July 6.

The bank lost about 1.1 billion yen ($10.6 million) as a result of the former employee’s actions through 109 transactions from 2007 to 2016, Yuichiro Himuro, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Sumitomo Mitsui, said by phone. It’s reviewing its processes and taking steps to ensure staff awareness in order to prevent a recurrence, the lender said.

— With assistance by Shingo Kawamoto

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