Morning Coffee: 25-year-old Deutsche Bank associate duped naive colleagues. UBS discovers pleasures of Credit Suisse Singapore office
Rashawn Russell had plenty going for him. As a teenager, he was identified as having 'extraordinary leadership potential' by the New York Posse Scholarship, which supported him to attend the High School of Economics and Finance in New York City. From there, Russell went to Babson College in Boston, where he received a Gates Millennium Leadership Scholarship. And when he graduated, he went to work in investment banking at Deutsche Bank in New York City.
But somewhere along the line, things went a bit wrong. After being arrested in April and charged with misappropriating funds from investors, Russell is reportedly now planning to plead guilty to charges of crypto-currency fraud. Some of the people he defrauded were his colleagues at Deutsche Bank.
Aged 25, Russell's pitch was simple. He promised a guaranteed ROI of 25% within three months and "essentially no downside risk." At the height of the crypto boom, he pretended to be raising money for rolling three month crypto investment funds, sending out friendly messages like, "Hey man so normally the next round kickstart [sic] right after the other. I always leave 2 weeks in between ending and starting a new round..."
12 people thought this sounded great and gave Russell money, including "several colleagues, college friends, and family members of friends." But Russell didn't invest their money at all. He either paid it back to them as fake returns or used it to for gambling, food, loans or Ubers. In total, he's accused of spending $1m.
The charges carry a prison sentence of 20 years. Russell initially pleaded not guilty, but seems to have changed his mind.
It's not clear who at Deutsche Bank paid into Russell's scam. Presumably it was DB people enamored of crypto, convinced of Russell's prowess, and hoping to increase their 2020 and 2021 bonuses by at least 25%.
Russell, for his part, is a possible gambling addict. Bloomberg reports that while he waited for his trial, he violated the conditions of his bond by going to 'gambling establishments' and using other people's credit cards to access gaming websites.
It's a sad outcome for a young man who'd traveled a long way. When he went to Babson, Russell said he was a bit concerned about going so far away from home, but that he hoped his friends from the Posse scholarship would make it less stressful.
Separately, UBS may be compelling Credit Suisse's Singapore staff to vacate their office at One Raffles Link and to move to its own office at Penang Road, but it's also discovered a benefit to the old Raffles Link office at this time of year.
FiNews reports that the Credit Suisse office has the Formula One track outside, and that Credit Suisse bankers there have long been able to watch the race from conference room windows. UBS's Penang Road office doesn't confer this advantage.
UBS is therefore making the most of its newfound access to the Credit Suisse premises. It's reportedly removed the Credit Suisse logo at the entrance and put up signs stating, 'Credit Suisse AG, a UBS Group company.' While many Credit Suisse bankers in Asia face being laid off, UBS is now entertaining its own clients, who are watching the Singapore Grand Prix from the vantage point of the Raffles Link conference rooms. ✨
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