Ex-bank exec to serve seven years for scam

Kyodo

The Yokohama District Court on Monday sentenced a former Citibank branch manager to seven years in prison for defrauding two customers of about 860 million yen between 1996 and 2002.

Judge Junji Kawamura said the crime by Katsunobu Kawanami, 46, former head of the Yokohama branch of the U.S. bank, was “heinous as he defrauded huge amount of cash and checks from elderly customers by taking advantage of his position in a world-famous bank.”

Kawanami defrauded a 77-year-old businesswoman in Yokohama and her sister of 10 checks worth 840 million yen and 20 million yen in cash by claiming he would deposit them with the bank. Kawanami converted the checks into cash and used the money to cover losses in his personal financial dealings.

Citibank officials have said Kawanami left the bank in July 2001 for another lender, but might have continued to collect money from customers by pretending he still worked at Citibank.

Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year prison term.