Indian Man Arrested for Extortion Attempt from Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore
Nagarajan Balajee allegedly threatened to publish defamatory libel against some bank employees, asking for S$500,000 as the price for his silence.
An Indian national was arrested and charged in Singapore for allegedly attempting to extort more than half a million dollars from Standard Chartered Bank, according to local media reports.
Nagarajan Balajee, 35, faces a jail term of two to five years and caning under a charge of “attempting to commit extortion,” theindependent.sg reported. Balajee allegedly committed the offence on Sept. 27 at Standard Chartered Bank office in Changi Business Park, and was produced in court on Oct. 2, the report added.
Balajee, who is the Head of Management & Financial Reporting – Digital Banking at the bank, allegedly threatened to publish defamatory libel against some bank employees, including Aalishaan Zaidi, the Global Head of Digital Banking. He is accused of asking Zaidi S$500,000 as the price for his silence, the Straits Times reported.
Zaidi was one of the people who received the threatening emails, which were sent anonymously, following which he made a police complaint on behalf of the bank. Zaidi hails from Karachi in Pakistan.
StanChart said in its police report that it had received anonymous e-mails asking for the amount in exchange for not leaking confidential information belonging to the bank, Channel NewsAsia reported.
Balajee was arrested on Sept. 30 on Kovan Road, and a number of digital devices, including laptops and mobile phones, were seized from him. He may have used various email accounts to evade detection, authorities believe, according to the publication. He is also thought to have used a VPN (Virtual private network) and overseas telephone numbers in an attempt to keep his identity hidden.
Balajee was released on S$20,000 bail and his case will be heard on Oct. 30, the report added.
In a statement issued later, the bank said that the incident was not related to its customer data or systems, which remain secure, Channel NewsAsia reported. “This was an isolated incident and was not a result of an external cybersecurity-related threat,” a StanChart spokesman said, according to the publication.
This year, Singapore has tightened rules for employment of foreign professionals in the country. The steps involve more paperwork, steeper costs and a longer processing period, even for a simple deputation to the country, the Times of India reported.