Ex-Citibank exec indicted for qualified theft

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2012 04:57 PM | Updated as of Jul 13 2012 02:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has found probable cause to indict former Citibank executive Francis Bryan Ang on 87 counts of qualified theft through falsification of commercial documents.

The case stemmed from the bank's discovery in July 2010 of "fraudulent bank transactions and other irregularities" allegedly committed by Ang in its Binondo Branch.

Ang was also subject of a freeze order by the Court of Appeals (CA) for allegedly embezzling more than P100 million of his clients' money.

Former Citibank executive Francis Bryan Ang

According to the DOJ, Ang executed 4 affidavits at the time supposedly admitting that he "tampered with the funds of bank clients in the following manner: (1) he simulated transactions including fund transfers, cash withdrawals and applications for manager's checks, by forging the signatures of clients in bank documents; (2) he appropriated the funds as his own and/or transferred the same to his intended beneficiaries... and (3) he avoided detection by either changing the client's addresses on record with the bank." He also reportedly "admitted offering time deposit interest rates to these clients higher than the rates offered by the bank without the latter's consent or instruction from his superiors."

The 2 consolidated cases against Ang amount to P97 million and $832,000, and P1.6 million and $43,000, respectively.

The complaint filed by Citibank, through its vice-president for Branch Services, Raul Martin J. Uson, against Ang, Oliver Salud, Sherjack Siao, Joanne Salud, Koanne Karla Uy, Robinson Siao, Steven Uy, Phillip Keith And, Esther Gobio Ang, Antonio Samson, Belina Cancio, and Stephen Wozniak was that of syndicated estafa. The DOJ panel of prosecutors composed of Senior Asst. State Prosecutor Ma. Emilia Victorio, and Asst. State Prosecutors Christine Perolino and Aldrin Evangelista found Ang liable for qualified theft; the charges against the 11 others were dismissed for lack of evidence.

"One of the essential elements of the crime of estafa 'the offended party suffered damage as a result,' which is not element of the crime of qualified theft. Since the complaining bank is not an offended party, nor has it suffered the requisite damage as an essential element of the crime of estafa, then the bank has no legal standing to file the present criminal complaint," the 57-page resolution read.

In finding probable cause, the panel said "the acts of respondent Francis Bryan Ang in obtaining payment on the various cash withdrawal requests and effecting the fund transfers are more than sufficient to engender the existence of probable cause for qualified theft."

The panel recommended that no bail be granted in favor of Ang.

In a statement, Citi said it is still pursuing the criminal and civil cases against Ang.

"We welcome this development as Citi continues to vigorously pursue the criminal and civil cases filed against Mr. Francis Bryan Ang, relating to this isolated incident which the bank discovered in 2010.  Only a few clients were impacted, and their losses resulting from this incident have been refunded in full," it said.