Dozens of bank staff arrested over bribery-linked data leak

Top News | Esther Yu 13 Dec 2016

Nearly 30 people have been arrested over allegations of bribery in order to obtain confidential customer information for loan business sales purposes, the Independent Commission Against Corruption said.

Among the 29 people held after the graftbusters launched operation "Mirabilis" were three managers and 18 serving and former direct sales representatives of a bank, reported to be DBS.

The others are a manager and five serving and former employees of three other banks, and two employees of a finance company, according to the ICAC.

It did not name the specific banks and financial institutions involved but said it had rendered full assistance during its investigation. All of the arrested are out on bail.

Last week, Apple Daily reported that direct sales team representatives from DBS paid bribes to obtain personal data - including mobile numbers - from their superiors and passed them to mainland telemarketing centers.

Heads and managers of the department reportedly knew about the leaking of the data and gave them "silent authorizations."

The DBS staff would split the commissions with the call centers, it was alleged.

Targeted bank customers are usually sold high interest rate personal loans with an annual rate of more than 10 percent.

There have been complaints that cold calls from the lenders have been repeatedly received in the past few months.

The Singapore-based lender said on Friday that it had alerted authorities after its internal monitoring turned up irregularities, but no further details were given.

The direct sales team also came under suspicion with its large-sum loans, which could accumulate to up to hundreds of millions of dollars each month and generate more than a million dollars in sales value for each member of the team.

The ICAC said the investigation arose from a corruption complaint.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority expressed concern last week regarding the report.

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