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Bank Exec Sold Customer Data to Ease Financial Woes

January 16, 2011 by Straits Times

FACED with financial problems, a bank executive sold customers' confidential details to several buyers, including an illegal moneylender, a court heard yesterday.

In return, Sazaly Selamat, who worked for DBS Bank, was paid a total of $2,625.

Yesterday, the 40-year-old pleaded guilty to seven charges of corruption and two of computer misuse.

He was authorised to access the bank's in-house customer database system to retrieve information such as customers' identity card numbers, addresses and other contact details, Assistant Public Prosecutor Puspha S. told the court.

But he was not allowed to disclose this information to third parties.

Some time in 2003, he began to experience financial difficulties. His car was repossessed two years later, after he defaulted on two months of payment.

Sazaly got to know one of the repossessors, Mr Alex Lian Teck Huat, who found out he could access DBS' customer database. Mr Lian is said to have then asked Sazaly if he wanted to make some money.

Sazaly agreed and Mr Lian offered him $50 for each customer whose details he retrieved, the court heard. He also told others of Sazaly's 'services'.

Eventually, the news reached an illegal football bookmaker known as Wei Keong, who operated in the Yishun area.

With Sazaly's help, Wei Keong tracked down debtors who owed him money. Through another bookmaker, Wei Keong transferred three sums of between $50 and $100 to Sazaly's account.

APP Puspha said Sazaly 'had no qualms about selling this information to these individuals due to his financial problems'.

Pleading for leniency, Sazaly, a divorced father of two, asked for a 'low fine', saying he had got his life sorted out and a stable job. District Judge F.G. Remedios will sentence him on Jan 26.

It is not known whether Mr Lian has faced any charges in connection with the case.