Recent ICAC Cases

16
Nov 2022
Ex-bank employee charged by ICAC with bribery and fraud involving HK$940,000 over client referral and insurance premiums

A former bank employee was charged by the ICAC yesterday (November 15) with accepting a bribe of HK$115,000 from an insurance agent for referring a client, and defrauding two clients of insurance premiums totalling over HK$820,000.

Chan Ka-him, 33, former insurance specialist of the Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited (Standard Chartered Bank), faces five charges – one of agent accepting an advantage, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO); and three of fraud and one of attempted fraud, contrary to Section 16A of the Theft Ordinance.

The defendant was released on ICAC bail, pending his appearance at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts tomorrow (November 17) for mention.

At the material time, the defendant was posted to a branch in Wan Chai. His job duties included the promotion of insurance products of Prudential Hong Kong Limited (Prudential HK) to clients of the bank under a business agreement with the insurer.

Standard Chartered Bank did not allow its staff to refer their clients to insurers, including Prudential HK, for taking out insurance products. The bank also did not allow its staff to accept any advantages in relation to its business.

On two occasions in January and March 2019, two clients each took out an insurance policy of Prudential HK at Standard Chartered Bank with the assistance of the defendant.

The defendant was alleged to have accepted an illegal rebate of HK$115,000 from an insurance agent of Prudential HK in April 2019 for referring one of the above clients to the insurance agent for taking out an insurance policy from Prudential HK directly.

It is further alleged that between August and September 2019, the defendant, induced the two clients to authorise the transfer of US$52,300 (about HK$408,000) and over HK$420,000 from their respective bank accounts by falsely representing to assist them in settling premium payments with Prudential HK.

Later in October 2019, the defendant allegedly induced Prudential HK to cancel the two insurance policies by falsely representing that the two clients made such applications.

The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Enquiries revealed that the two abovementioned sums, totalling over HK$820,000, were in fact transferred to a bank account of an associate of the defendant. Moreover, the two clients did not request to cancel their insurance policies.

Standard Chartered Bank and Prudential HK have rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.

The ICAC reminds banking practitioners not to accept any advantage for business referral to avoid breaching the POBO. The Commission will continue to collaborate with banks to provide integrity training for their staff. Bank clients are reminded to be cautious and prudent when handling account authorisation.

The ICAC provides an array of corruption prevention resources for the banking industry. Information is available on the Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Centre’s website.  

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