March 1, 2019 / 2:39 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-State Bank of India confirms account frauds totalling $1.12 bln

(Adds background on banking sector, PTI report on fraud)

March 1 (Reuters) - State Bank of India (SBI) confirmed on Friday it had reported fraud totalling 79.51 billion rupees ($1.12 billion) during the first nine months of this financial year.

Indian media reported here this week, based on a "right to information" query, that the frauds involved 1,885 cases, but SBI declined to say how much they had cost customers.

SBI, India's largest lender by assets, said here the fraudulent activity had been mainly in high-value accounts and that all of these had been classed non-performing assets "much earlier", with most of the portfolio already fully provisioned for.

India’s banks have come under increased scrutiny after smaller state-run Punjab National Bank reported a massive $2 billion fraud last year.

This raised questions around the auditing and regulatory oversight of the country’s banks.

SBI said in an exchange filing on Friday that the resolution process for recovery has begun via various debt recovery regulatory bodies. ($1 = 70.8730 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Alexander Smith)

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