An employee at Citigroup transferred more than $19m of the bank's money to his own account last year without anyone noticing, it was alleged in a criminal filing yesterday.
The transfers were made by a man overseeing part of the bank's derivatives trading, and were only discovered recently by an internal audit, according to charges laid against 35-year-old Gary Foster of New Jersey.
Mr Foster is accused of inventing bogus deal codes and references to disguise the money transfers from Citigroup's accounts. One of the largest single transfers was for $3.9m last November, according to the FBI.
Police arrested Mr Foster on Sunday morning when he arrived back in New York on a flight from Bangkok. He was due to appear in a New York court last night. Defence attorney Isabelle Kirshner said her client had "returned voluntarily and is prepared to address the issue".
Citigroup, where Mr Foster was vice president of the treasury finance department, said in a statement that they were "outraged by the actions of this former employee" and hoped to see him "prosecuted to the full extent of the law". It was the bank that called in the FBI earlier this year.
US Attorney Loretta Lynch, announcing the arrest yesterday, said Mr Lynch was responsible for "the ultimate inside job". She said: "We are committed to ensuring the integrity of the banking system and to prosecuting those who would undermine it for their personal gain."