Man charged over StanChart extortion attempt

Indian national Nagarajan Balajee is believed to have used multiple fictitious e-mail accounts to deliver threats to Standard Chartered Bank anonymously.
Indian national Nagarajan Balajee is believed to have used multiple fictitious e-mail accounts to deliver threats to Standard Chartered Bank anonymously.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

He allegedly sought $500,000 for not publishing libel about top bank executive

A 35-year-old man accused of trying to extort half a million dollars from Standard Chartered Bank was charged in court yesterday.

Nagarajan Balajee, an Indian national, was charged with attempting to commit extortion. If found guilty, he faces a jail term of between two and five years and caning.

According to court papers, Balajee had allegedly threatened to publish a libel concerning Mr Aalishaan Zaidi, 47, the global head of digital banking at Standard Chartered Bank, unless he paid the $500,000. Mr Zaidi was one of a few bank employees who received the threatening e-mails sent anonymously. He made a police report on the bank's behalf on Thursday.

Balajee was arrested on Sunday in Kovan Road. Several laptops and mobile phones were seized from him in connection with the case.

The bank had been threatened with leakage of confidential information. Balajee is believed to have used multiple fictitious e-mail accounts to deliver the threats anonymously.

In response to queries from The Straits Times on Monday, a StanChart spokesman said: "This is not related to our customer data or systems, which remain secure. This was an isolated incident and was not a result of an external cyber security-related threat."

Preliminary investigations by the police also found that the suspect might have used overseas-registered mobile lines and virtual private network (VPN) services to mask his identity to evade detection. A VPN allows unauthorised content from overseas to be accessed by users.

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    Jail sentence in years if found guilty of attempted extortion.

Balajee is currently out on $20,000 bail and will be back in court on Oct 30.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2018, with the headline 'Man charged over StanChart extortion attempt'. Print Edition | Subscribe