Citibank update: Francis Bryan Ang indicted for qualified theft

James Ryan Jonas

Here’s an update to one of the recent high-profile banking scandals in the country. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has found probable cause in the qualified theft case filed by Citibank against its former employee, Francis Bryan Ang, who supposedly ran away with more than P135 million of clients’ funds.

The DOJ has recommended the filing of 87 counts of qualified theft through falsification of commercial documents against Francis Bryan Ang, a former assistant vice president of Citibank’s Citigold Wealth Management Group and Relationship Manager of Citibank Binondo branch.

Ang allegedly stole away peso and dollar funds with a combined amount of at least P135 million. The DOJ consolidated two cases filed against Ang, the first one amounting to P97 million and $832,000 and the other with amounts P1.6 million and $43,000.

The case was made public in 2010 when the bank discovered fraudulent transactions supposedly initiated by Ang. (See related article: Citibank scandal: Did Francis Ang steal the money or not?)

The DOJ ruling gave weight on the prosecution’s allegation that Ang himself executed affidavits admitting the crime. The former bank executive supposedly confessed that he “tampered with the funds of bank clients in the following manner:

  • (1) simulated transactions including fund transfers, cash withdrawals and applications for manager’s checks, by forging the signatures of clients in bank documents;
  • (2) appropriated the funds as his own and/or transferred the same to his intended beneficiaries; and
  • (3) avoided detection by either changing the client’s addresses on record with the bank.”

Ang also supposedly admitted offering time deposits with interest rates higher than the rate offered by the bank without his superiors’ knowledge or permission.

He also allegedly changed the clients’ addresses on record or implemented hold-mail orders in order to prevent them from receiving notices or bank statements.

The DOJ, however, found no probable cause in the filing of estafa charges against Ang. According to the DOJ, one of the essential elements of the crime of estafa is that “the offended party suffered damage as a result.” Citibank, the DOJ resolution ruled, is “not an offended party, nor has it suffered the requisite damage as an essential element of the crime of estafa.”

The DOJ ruling also dismissed the case against 11 other Citibank executives for lack of evidence. The DOJ panel of prosecutors did not find the complaint sufficient to file charges of syndicated estafa against Oliver Salud, Sherjack Siao, Joanne Salud, Koanne Karla Uy, Robinson Siao, Steven Uy, Phillip Keith And, Esther Gobio Ang, Antonio Samson, Belina Cancio, and Stephen Wozniak.

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.