Asia

Citibank's Malinda Dee: Eight years for Indonesia fraud

Malinda Dee
Image caption Malinda Dee's lavish lifestyle included extensive plastic surgery

A former executive at Citibank in Indonesia has been jailed for eight years for stealing more than $4m (£2.5m) to fund a lavish lifestyle.

The South Jakarta District Court found customer relationship manager Malinda Dee guilty of embezzling money from customers' accounts and banking fraud.

The money was used to finance a lifestyle that included luxury cars and cosmetic surgery.

Bank regulators imposed sanctions for a year on Citibank following the case.

The BBC's Karishma Vaswani in Jakarta says the case also prompted an inquiry into banking fraud in the country.

Indonesia is home to some of the richest people in Asia but it is also regularly ranked as one of the most corrupt nations in the world.

Car habit

According to the court, Dee falsified clients' transfer documents and moved their money into her relatives' accounts between 2007 and 2011.

Her husband, sister and brother-in-law had earlier received prison terms of up to four years for money laundering.

"The defendant's crime ran contrary to the government's programme of eradicating money laundering, which is a law enforcement priority," Judge Kusno said in a statement read in court.

Local media report that Dee used the money to buy two Ferraris, a Humvee, a Mercedes and a Porsche, among other luxuries.

The cars will be confiscated, and the court also ordered her to pay more than $1m in fines.

Her prison sentence, however, is lower than the 13 years that the prosecution had requested.

Our correspondent says Indonesia has been transfixed by the fall of one of the country's glamour set.

Local news outlets say the usually confident Dee, clad in a black chiffon scarf, had tears in her eyes as she left the court.

She was arrested last March after Citibank discovered the illegal transactions when clients raised the alarm.

The case saw Indonesian regulators ban the bank from selling wealth management services to new clients in Indonesia for a year.

"We have worked closely with our customers to compensate them for the losses in their accounts caused by the former relationship manager's unauthorised transactions," the bank said in a statement welcoming the verdict.

"We have further strengthened our internal controls to protect our customers against fraudulent activities."