Ex-Deutsche Bank forex trader in Singapore pleads guilty to defrauding lender

A former Deutsche Bank foreign-exchange trader faces a possible prison sentence after a Singapore court convicted him of defrauding the company by making false trades.
A former Deutsche Bank foreign-exchange trader faces a possible prison sentence after a Singapore court convicted him of defrauding the company by making false trades.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - A former Deutsche Bank foreign-exchange trader faces a possible prison sentence after a Singapore court convicted him of defrauding the company by making false trades.

Singaporean Toh Hway Khuan, 51, pleaded guilty on Wednesday (Jan 18) to 13 charges relating to using the bank's account to get preferential rates on the US dollar in November 2009.

The former spot trader was charged in 2015 with 39 counts where he was accused of buying and selling more than US$250 million and unlawfully making about S$140,000 using a trading account jointly owned by his brother and his wife.

Toh was said to have traded for US dollars in November 2009 at rates unfavourable to his bank - either buying American currency at a rate above the market price, or selling at a price below it. These were trades the banks would not have authorised.

Prosecutor Muhamad Imaduddin sought a three-month jail term to deter those in the financial industry from making personal gains through deceitful means. Toh failed to disclose his beneficial ownership in the trades, and his offenses were difficult to detect, the prosecutor said.

The defendant's lawyer Lee Teck Leng sought a "high fine," saying the bank didn't suffer actual losses and there was no market impact from Toh's conduct.

The offenses happened around the time of the Monetary Authority of Singapore's review of attempts by banks to rig currency benchmarks in 2007 to 2011. The regulator censured 20 banks in 2013 and ordered them to improve internal controls.

Probes into the rigging of foreign-exchange markets and interest-rate benchmarks have led to lenders across the globe paying billions of dollars in fines and an overhaul of how such rates are set.

With additional information from the Straits Times