HONG KONG Twenty-nine current and former staff of five financial firms, including four banks, have been arrested in Hong Kong for alleged bribery related to the disclosure of confidential customer information, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said on Monday.
All the arrested have been released on bail, but the probe is continuing, the Asian financial hub's anti-graft body said in a statement, adding all the financial institutions were cooperating with its investigation.
It did not name the institutions or individuals involved.
Without citing a source, Hong Kong-based tabloid Apple Daily reported some staff from Singapore bank DBS (DBSM.SI) allegedly bribed department managers to get client data, including names and contact details, with which to market loans.
"DBS Hong Kong takes our obligations to curtail financial crime very seriously and the bank will cooperate fully with any law enforcement agency on their investigations. This includes informing authorities when we become aware of matters which require their attention," DBS said in a statement.
"Based on information known to us, some news reports on the matter have inaccuracies. As the case is still under investigation, we are unable to comment further," DBS said.
The investigation began after a corruption complaint and led to the arrests of three managers and 18 serving and former direct sales representatives of a bank, said the ICAC statement posted on its website.
The arrested executives included a manager and five serving and former employees of three other banks, and two employees of a finance company.
"Enquiries revealed that the bank managers might have accepted bribes from other arrestees as rewards for divulging confidential customer information to the latter in Hong Kong for touting personal loan business," the ICAC said.
The ICAC was set up in 1974 to root out corruption in Hong Kong. It acts as a law-enforcement agency, able to arrest and detain suspects, and prosecutes cases in conjunction with advice from the Department of Justice.
(Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee in Hong Kong and Marius Zaharia in Singapore; Editing by Toby Chopra)