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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Trader Flees Singapore, Merrill Lynch Files Charges

SINGAPORE -- A U.S. investment bank has fired one of its highest-producing stock brokers and filed fraud charges against him in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The broker, identified by Merrill Lynch and Co. as U.S. national Kevin Wallace, has left Singapore along with his wife, although his three children remained behind with a maid, news reports said Sunday.

Merrill Lynch spokesman Robert Grieves would not comment on Wallace's whereabouts except to say that the firm "believes he was in Hong Kong" but could not confirm it.

Singapore media reports quoted industry sources as saying Merrill was seeking $30 million from Wallace.

In a statement of claims against him, Merrill Lynch alleged that he had engaged in unauthorized trading, misrepresenting or falsifying the signatures of clients.

He was fired from his Singapore post as a financial consultant for private clients May 15. Merrill Lynch filed civil charges against Wallace in Singapore and Hong Kong on Friday, as well as a criminal complaint in Singapore, Grieves said.

The firm has also obtained an injunction to prevent him from disposing of any of his assets around the globe, Grieves said.

Wallace, an American in his 40s, has been based in Singapore with Merrill Lynch for more than five years, said people who know him. During that time, he became one of the firm's top producers of commission revenue.

As a financial consultant, a Merrill Lynch term for bankers who sell stock and also provide private-banking services to high-net-worth individuals, Wallace worked for wealthy clients around the region, many of them ethnic-Chinese Indonesians.