Shirlina Tsang, a former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group PLC trader who pleaded guilty in Hong Kong to fraud for trying to hide losses of ￡19.5 million (US$30.8 million), was sentenced to 50 months in jail.
“This is an extremely serious offense,” District Court Judge Garry Tallentire said as he handed down the sentence yesterday.
“Your acts led to enormous losses by RBS,” he added.
Tsang, 43, had admitted to creating false records of her bond trading from mid-2010 until Oct. 14, 2011, to make it appear she was generating profit at the Edinburgh-based bank.
Nick Leeson, who covered up losses of more than ￡800 million at Barings PLC, was sentenced to 6.5 years prison in Singapore in 1995, while Jerome Kerviel received a three-year jail term and was ordered to repay Societe Generale SA’s 4.9 billion euro (US$6.5 billion) loss in 2010, Tsang’s lawyer Edwin Choy had argued earlier in a plea for leniency.
The sentences of the other traders Choy had cited took place in different times, conditions and jurisdictions, Tallentire said.
Tsang was remorseful, admitted her mistake to RBS and repaid the bank her bonus, Choy said. Her “colossal misjudgement” was due to work stress and depression caused by her brother’s death, he said.
She could have been jailed for as long as seven years.
Anita Chow, another of Tsang’s lawyers, declined to comment on her sentence after the hearing.
Tsang should have been subject to more checks and supervision, especially given the examples of other losses suffered by banks cited by her lawyer, Tallentire said.
RBS said it discovered the fraud two years ago after an internal review, notified the authorities and fired her.
“RBS takes any matter of this nature very seriously,” said Yuk Min Hui, a spokeswoman for the bank in Hong Kong.
“We have been cooperating fully with all relevant authorities,” she added.