Bank officer arrested after $500,000 in cash goes missing

A 48-year-old female Standard Chartered branch officer has been arrested for allegedly siphoning half a million dollars in cash.

The police said a report was made at 11pm on Friday after a branch manager of the bank at Serangoon Gardens discovered that $500,000 in cash was missing.

Police were able to establish that the suspect might have taken the cash during the bank's closing hours the day before.

When she was arrested at 5am on Saturday morning, the suspect was found to have cash amounting to $1,000 and about $5,000 worth of gambling chips. Investigations are ongoing to recover the rest of the money, the police said.

When contacted, a Standard Chartered spokesman reassured customers that the bank's first priority "is always to protect customers' interests and their funds remain safe with us".

It has a code of conduct, strict processes and procedures which all employees are expected to comply with, said the spokesman. "Any misconduct and non-compliance with these processes and procedures will be dealt with very seriously," she added. The bank could not provide further details as the case is under investigation.

If found guilty of criminal breach of trust as a servant, the suspect might face imprisonment of up to 15 years, and also a fine.

Last Thursday, a finance manager of a stationery company was found guilty of two charges of criminal breach of trust.

Lee Lim Kiong siphoned off nearly $800,000 from his employer after racking up debts from the casinos and stocks. He was jailed for 4 1/2 years and fined $2,000.

darylc@sph.com.sg