Citibank says it's an isolated case; Binondo branch exec fired
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - A private banking officer of Citibank's Binondo branch has gone missing after allegedly carting away hundreds of millions of his clients' money.
Francis Bryan Ang is the former assistant vice-president of the bank's Citigold Wealth Management group, which is aimed at high-value clients with bank deposits of no less than P4 million. Most of Citigold's customers are wealthy Chinese-Filipinos.
A note on the Citibank website states that Citigold clients enjoy various privileges including premium information and assistance from a dedicated wealth management team that will manage their accounts.
ABS-CBN News, however, learned that Ang embezzled more than P100 million of his clients' money.
One Citigold client lost P10 million from his time deposit after Ang forged his signature. An affidavit signed by Citibank's lawyer showed that Ang changed the client's address so that bank statements would not reach the account owner.
Citibank officials said Ang promised much higher interest for time deposits than what was offered by the bank. He also gave higher referral fees to clients than the standard referral fees approved by Citibank.
Bank sources said Ang maintained an extravagant lifestyle and would often sport pricey watches every week. A bank document showed that Ang used one client's account to pay off Lucerne, a store that sells expensive watches.
Ang, 36, is the eldest son of Manila Councilor Bernie Ang. He finished high school at Xavier School in 1992, and graduated with a BS Economics degree at University of the Philippines-Diliman.
ABS-CBN contacted Ang's father who said he has not seen his son for the past 2 weeks. He denied any knowledge about his son's activities.
Ang was scheduled to marry his girlfriend, who comes from a prominent businessman's family in Valenzuela, this November. A source from the Chinese community, however, said the bank official also victimized his fiancée.
The girl's father, however, has denied this. He added that they can no longer do anything after Ang went missing.
Several of Ang's former clients refused to speak on camera until Citibank has refunded their money.
Citibank management said it has identified a small number of Ang's clients who are holding fake time deposit certificates.
"We have identified a small number of clients who are impacted. We are reviewing these accounts and our priority is to work closely with these clients to ensure a satisfactory outcome," it said in a statement.
The bank said it has already fired Ang and filed criminal and civil cases against him.
"We are investigating certain questionable transactions initiated by an employee whose employment has since been terminated. We have filed criminal and civil cases against him, supported by his own admissions and very strong documentary evidence," the bank said.
It added: "We are working closely with the relevant authorities who are assisting us in this matter. Although the investigation is still ongoing, we believe this is an isolated case, and we are taking all necessary measures to protect our clients."
In response to ABS-CBN News' report, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr. said: "The matter has been reported to us and the bank is continuing its investigation. We are satisfied the matter is being handled properly." -- report from Ces Drilon, ABS-CBN News