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Monday, September 20, 2021

A Billion Dollar Error: Citibank mistakenly transferred money to creditors

Citibank was unable to secure the return of $ 500 million in court, which it mistakenly transferred to creditors. 

Due to the inconvenient interface of the internal software and employee errors, in August 2020, the bank sent not part of the payment, but the full amount, which, from the point of view of the law, was regarded as a loan repayment.

The subsequent erroneous transaction was carried out as payment of part of the debt of the American cosmetics brand Revlon – Citibank in this case acted as the company’s agent.

On August 11, the bank was to send payments to Revlon’s various creditors totaling $ 7.8 million.

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In order to make a transaction in Flexcube, it was necessary to first enter the entire amount, as if the bank had fully repaid the loan, and then send most of the money to the internal technical account, which would leave a significant portion of the specified amount in the bank.

The subcontractor in India who was to do this work ticked the “principal” box for the technical invoice.

But I didn’t fill in the important front and fund fields. Then the transaction was approved by three bank employees who thought that this checkbox would be enough.

As a result, the funds passed “by” the technical account directly to the creditors.

As a result, Citibank sent that day to creditors not the $ 7.8 million it had planned, but the entire amount of the debt – $ 900 million. The bank noticed the mistake only the next morning.

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