Standard Chartered Private Banker Held by Police in China
By Sanat Vallikappen – Mar 15, 2012 4:10 AM ET
“We are unable to comment on the reason for her detention — this is a matter for the police,” Singapore-based spokeswoman Melissa Cheah said in an e-mailed response to queries today. “We can confirm that Standard Chartered is not being investigated.”
Police from the city of Wuxi notified Shanghai-based Wu’s family of her detention on March 6, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Chinese authorities are investigating a client of Wu, a naturalized Singapore citizen, who allegedly fled with as much as $50 million from Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., according to the report. Wuxi is about 90 miles from Shanghai.
A press officer at state-owned Agricultural Bank declined to comment and four calls to the Wuxi city government’s publicity department weren’t answered.
Singapore’s Consulate-General in Shanghai is aware of the case and will render all necessary consular assistance, attache Lynn Ho said in an e-mail.
Standard Chartered, HSBC Holdings Plc and Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia Ltd. (23) are among foreign lenders expanding in China to tap its growing wealth. Chinese millionaires will hold $8.76 trillion of assets by 2015 as their number is set to more than double, according to a study by Julius Baer Group and CLSA Asia Pacific Markets in September.
Banks in China sold 16.5 trillion yuan ($2.6 trillion) of higher-yield wealth-management products last year, more than double the amount a year earlier, according to Benefit Wealth Co., a Chengdu-based data supplier which tracks the market.
Standard Chartered, the third-largest foreign bank by branches in China, said Feb. 29 that it planned to expand its network in the nation to more than 100 outlets, from about 81 at the end of last year. The London-based bank doubled its pretax profit in China to more than $220 million last year, according to a filing that day.
The lender can’t comment further on the detention as it’s part of an ongoing investigation, spokeswoman Cheah wrote today.
Jason David Tan, Wu’s fiance, said she had been questioned “repeatedly” since mid-January by police in Shanghai about a client who was a banker with Agricultural Bank’s branch in Jiangyin, the Journal reported. That client is alleged to have fled overseas, according to the report.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sanat Vallikappen in Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at email@example.com