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Inside man in failed £72m electronic heist jailed

Former HSBC clerk gets nine years

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A former HSBC worker who tried to steal £72m ($141m) from the bank through an audacious electronic heist has been jailed for nine years.

Jagmeet Channa, of Church Road, Ilford, was sentenced to 90 months for conspiracy to defraud and nine years for money laundering at a sentencing at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, after earlier pleading guilty to a key role in the attempted multi-million pound computer scam. Both sentences will be served concurrently. A charge of fraud by abuse of position was allowed to rest on file.

The 25-year-old used stolen log-in credentials to transfer €90m euros from HSBC to accounts held with Barclays Bank in Manchester (€30m) and in Morocco (€60m). But the fraud was quickly spotted by HSBC workers in Malaysia after Channa left the account he raided with a huge negative balance.

Two of Channa's colleagues at the firm's headquarters at London's Canary Wharf were questioned over the use of their identities to make and approve the transactions. Both were quickly eliminated from inquiries. A review of CCTV footage and other inquiries led officers from the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Department to arrest Channa in April.

Investigators reckon Channa was the inside man in one of the largest electronic frauds ever attempted. So far no other arrests have been made. Prompt action meant that the accounts were quickly frozen and money retrieved before crooks were able to access the accounts.

The BBC reports that in sentencing Channa at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin said: "This was no silly prank. This was a carefully planned and very serious attempt to transfer a fortune in money away, and it almost succeeded.

"Others were involved, perhaps several others, and in the absence of any explanation from you I must assume this was a planned and sophisticated criminal enterprise." ®

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