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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Bank trio ‘accepted $10m in bribes to forge loan application documents’

Two Pakistanis and a Filipino in court accused of using HSBC letterheads and stamp in scam

Three bankers are accused of accepting US$10 million in bribes from a man for altering documents attributed to their bank, heard Dubai Criminal Court on Sunday.

Prosecutors told the court that the men - two Pakistanis aged 26 and 33 and a 35-year-old Filipino - worked for HSBC and between June and November 2015 they forged a number of documents for bribes.

The trio are charged with accepting bribes, forging documents and using the forgeries. A Nigerian man, who remains at large, is charged with aiding and abetting by offering the bribes.

The men were said to have forged 15 letters of credit and bank guarantees for the Nigerian, whose age was not given.

HSBC’s head of internal investigations testified that when the defendants used to work at the bank they coordinated with the Nigerian to issue him the certificates with bank letterheads and official stamps before emailing the documents to him.

“After emailing the certificates, they would destroy all originals,” said the Lebanese witness, who told the court that the incident came to light on December 8, 2015 after and HSBC branch in South Africa sent an email checking the validity of the one of the letters, which was submitted to them as part of a loan application.

“The email was sent to our SZR branch and, when doubled checked by the employee there, it was discovered that the letter was a forgery,” said the internal investigations chief.

The 30-year-old British regional manager of the bank told prosecutors that the names and data on the letters were all false.

The trio were said to have got the names from the Nigerian, who would then distribute the letters to contacts in Nigeria and South Africa to be used to apply for bank loans.

It was not mentioned whether any of the loan applications were approved, processed and paid.

Prosecutors said the three men admitted to the crime during investigations and said that they used to destroy the original altered certificates after emailing them then deleting the emails.

On Sunday morning, the men did not face the charges as the court asked prosecutors for amendments, the nature of which was not explained.

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