ASB says sorry as banker jailed for $18m fraud

ASB Bank has apologised again to its customers after one of its former staff stole nearly $18 million, which he splurged on property and prostitutes.

Stephen Gerard Versalko was sentenced yesterday to six years in prison after pleading guilty and being convinced on to three charges brought by Serious Fraud Office.

The Auckland District Court heard how Versalko spent $3.4 million on two prostitutes, a $3.2 million home in exclusive Auckland suburb Remuera and a $1.8 million beach-front property in the Coromandel.

Reflecting on the case, ASB claimed only a small number of customers were affected by Versalko’s actions and all the victims had been reimbursed.

In fact 28 high net worth ASB clients were defrauded over a period of nine years.

The fraud involved Versalko transferring funds to make fictitious investments on behalf of customers with whom he had established trusted relationships.

Versalko covered this by paying these customers their anticipated interest and capital repayments.

He was fired by the bank in August.

The amount stolen by Versalko is more than the largest proven employment theft of $16.9 million by a member of the Otago District Health Board who was jailed for nine years in March 2009 - a record for an SFO prosecution.

ASB said the fraud contributed to a net loss for the bank of $10 million for the six months to December 31.

The bank said it had strengthened security so “this situation does not happen again.”

“We apologise again to these customers who were impacted by his actions,” the bank said in a statement.

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7 Comments & Questions

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Wow aint it a fact that one person is martyred and another does more damage and hurt in trusting relationships, and the bigger the crime the less likely that person' will share the same in sentencing with the lessor perpetraitor. What an injustice to all consumers. Shame on the Judicial system in allowing non-S.O.Es more lenience to the private sector! A shame to all whom handles the wealth of the Nation.

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This uy flew the ASB colours on their letterhead, in their premises.
"SORRY" #^%$)(&@&^....... NO WAY ........this nonsense went on for 10 sodding years.
We want to hear about the real stuff - external and internal audit, compliance, supervision, reporting, process,annual accounting
One bloke gets fired for this dodgy stuff.
Pull the other one.
Where's the Securities Commission, The Reserve Bank, prudential supervision, the rest of the heads on poles.....?

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How does this work??

NZ is apparently the LEAST corrupt country in the world - according to Transparency International's 'Corruption Perception Index'.

BUT - NZ is one of only 18 countries in the world that still hasn't ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption?????

(NZ signed the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2003.

It seems that ratification can only happen once the domestic legislation of the member state is compliant with the UNCAC.)

SO - how on earth is NZ the 'least corrupt country in the world'?

Penny Bright
"Anti-corruption campaigner"

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Very good point. A modern banks system & processes wouldn't allow such tyranny. Maybe ASB should hand out those plastic elephants again... our money would be safer there.

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Exceptionally high returns, no Tax to pay - what idiots would believe that an investment would deliver that. Good on the guy for spending $3.4m of idiots money on prosties. This goes for all the other greedy clowns that have invested in the failed finance companies.

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The guy fleeced every bank he worked for. I know that he fleeced two banks in the late 1980's/ early 1990's by manipulating computer models - in those days the valuation of products in the financial markets were sometimes done by secondary programmes and he knew how to manipulate figures that front ended the profit - therefore he took advantage for his bonus purposes. Unfortunately it was very hard to prove and he got away with it.

Obviously he never learnt.

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Go away.
Actions matter, not silly conventions.
Signing the convention will not do the slightest good.
Most do not care about your statistics.
Helen's in NY milking the broader taxpayer base with H2
There are also laws against murder, rape, burglary -do they stop even ONE crime?

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