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Indonesia bars Citi from offering wealth management services

Last updated on: April 7, 2011 15:43 IST

Indonesia bars Citi from offering wealth management services

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US banking major Citigroup has been barred from selling wealth management services to new clients in Indonesia following allegations that one of its long-time employees stole money from customers, says a media report.

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Image: Citigroup's employee has been accused of fraud.
Photographs: Reuters
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Indonesia bars Citi from offering wealth management services

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The barring of Citi, amid allegations that a long-time employee stole millions of dollars from customers of its premium retail bank, was announced by Indonesia's central bank Governor Darmin Nasution, the Financial Times reported.

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Image: Governor Darmin Nasution announced the decision.
Photographs: Reuters
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Indonesia bars Citi from offering wealth management services

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Citibank had witnessed a similar kind of fraud perpetrated by a senior employee at a branch in India, wherein customers were duped of wealth worth about $100 million.

According to the daily, Nasution told legislators that Citi had been instructed to "temporarily suspend" recruitment of new clients to Citigold, the US entity's flagship service for wealthy customers.

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Image: Citi saw a similar fraud in India.
Photographs: Reuters
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Indonesia bars Citi from offering wealth management services

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"Citi's run-in with the Indonesian authorities also highlights some of the risks of the US bank's global strategy, which is predicated on tapping into fast-growing emerging markets," the report said.

Quoting Citi, the daily said the banking major is seeking clarification on the comments made.

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Image: Citi's run-in highlights its risks.
Photographs: Reuters
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Indonesia bars Citi from offering wealth management services

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"We understand it was said to be a temporary measure and has no impact on the services we offer our existing Citigold customers.

"Our focus is on cooperating fully with all authorities to bring the investigation to a conclusion and resolve the matter," Citi was quoted as saying.

As per the report, the ban on recruitment of new Citigold customers follows two scandals that have thrust the US financial group into the local media spotlight.

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Image: Two scandals have hit the bank.
Photographs: Reuters
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Indonesia bars Citi from offering wealth management services

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"Malinda Dee, a customer relations manager, was arrested last week after Citi uncovered alleged illegal transactions of about $2 million.

"A teller is also being investigated," it said.

The daily said authorities are investigating the mysterious death last week of a client who was questioned by three of the bank's external debt collectors at another Citi branch in the Indonesian capital.

"The men are in police custody and face possible murder charges," it added.


Image: A man in debt died in a Citibank branch.
Photographs: Reuters
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