Headlines

Citibank debt collectors
allegedly kill client

Anton Bachrul Alam. Antara

An employee of Citibank and two debt collectors hired by the major international bank allegedly killed a customer who complained about his ballooning credit card bill.

Citibank customer Irzen Octa, who was also the secretary-general for the National Unity Party (PPB), was allegedly killed by the three suspects after complaining that his credit card bill was inflated from Rp 48 million (US$5,300) to Rp 100 million at the bank’s branch office in Jamsostek Tower in Central Jakarta.

“The motive for the murder was debt and the inconsistent figures on the credit card bill,” South Jakarta Police chief detective Sr. Comr. Budi Irawan.

Budi said the victim came to the bank branch to complain about his credit card bill, which showed a total of Rp 100 million, significantly higher than the Rp 48 million he expected.

Unable to handle the complaint, a Citibank employee and two debt-collectors, none of whom were named by police, took Irzen to the fifth floor of the building where they killed him.

“We found traces of blood on the curtains and walls,” Budi said, adding that Irzen’s body was found early Tuesday on the fifth floor.

An autopsy performed on Irzen showed he suffered damage to his brain.

The three Citibank employees were named suspects in the murder case and could be charged with the Criminal Code on battery, which carries a maximum jail sentence of five-and-a-half years.

Police said they would also question Citibank officials.

Citibank official Ditta Amahorseya declined to comment on the ongoing police investigation when approached by The Jakarta Post, but maintained that Citibank had and obeyed a strict code of ethics in regards to debt collection.

“All agencies’ employees representing us are obliged to obey [the code], including the obligation to deal with clients without using threats,” she said in an email sent to the Post.

This is the second recent cri-minal case involving Citibank employees.

Earlier this week, the National Police announced the arrest of a senior manager of Citibank identified as Malinda Dee for stealing Rp 17 billion ($2 million) from her clients.

Police also seized a number of possessions from the suspect, including a Hummer SUV and a Mercedes-Benz sedan, estimated at Rp 3.4 billion, that were allegedly bought by the suspect with money she stole from her clients.

On Thursday, however, police said Malinda may have stolen more than the Rp 17 billion initially cited.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam said Malinda, who had worked at Citibank for 20 years, stole between Rp 1 billion and Rp 2 billion per transaction and that she could have stolen more than Rp 17 billion.

“[The Rp 17 billion] was only a preliminary finding from our audit,” Anton said.

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