Man charged with attempting to extort $500,000 from Standard Chartered Bank

Nagarajan Balajee was charged with attempting to commit extortion and faces a jail term of between two and five years and caning, if found guilty.
Nagarajan Balajee was charged with attempting to commit extortion and faces a jail term of between two and five years and caning, if found guilty.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A 35-year-old man who tried to extort half a million Singapore dollars from Standard Chartered Bank was charged in court on Tuesday (Oct 2).

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 documents, Balajee had allegedly threatened to publish a defamatory 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 the police report on the bank's behalf.

Balajee was arrested on Sunday (Sept 30) along Kovan Road. Several laptops and mobile phones were seized from him in connection with the case, the police said.

The bank had made a police report last Thursday about how it had been threatened with a leakage of confidential information.

Balajee is believed to have used multiple fictitious e-mail accounts to deliver the threats to the bank anonymously.

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

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