January 24, 2008 / 5:22 AM / 11 years ago

Singapore charges 7 ex-Citibank bankers after switch

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Seven former Citibank bankers have been charged in a Singapore court for stealing clients’ information before leaving to join rival bank UBS AG in 2006, Singapore police said on Thursday.

The seven face a total of 1,223 charges under the Computer Misuse Act, a police spokeswoman said and local media said the charges could carry fines of over S$100,000 ($70,000) or up to 20 years in jail.

The case stemmed from a lawsuit filed in 2006 by Citibank against some of the bankers after they defected to UBS, allegedly taking information on high net worth clients who invest as much as S$10 million each with the bank.

Police are bringing the criminal charges. Citibank said in a statement it had settled its civil case with the individuals while a UBS spokeswoman declined to comment on the case.

“It is not appropriate for us to comment on this as it is a personal matter between the individuals and the authorities,” said the UBS spokeswoman.

Citibank had in 2006 sought damages from some of the former staffers who had joined UBS, and said three of the bankers had taken S$50 million worth of business when they defected to the Swiss bank.

The seven accused, two of whom were not named in the Citibank civil suit, have been granted bail ahead of a pre-trial conference.

The case highlights intense competition in Singapore for a small pool of qualified bankers, as the island’s fast-growing wealth management sector caters to an increasing number of rich Chinese, Indians and other Asians.

Reporting by Melanie Lee, Daryl Loo and Saeed Azhar; Editing by Lincoln Feast

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