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Indonesian Man's 'Interrogation' Death Raises Concerns About Citibank's Use of Debt Collectors

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A Citibank sign is seen at a bank branch in midtown Manhattan, New York in this November 17, 2010 file photo. Citigroup Inc said on June 8, 2011 computer hackers breached the bank's network and accessed data on hundreds of thousands of bank card holders in the latest of a string of cyber attacks on high-profile companies. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS CRIME LAW SCI TECH)Reuters

Citibank is facing scrutiny in an Indonesian small-business man's death after the man reportedly was subjected to a "harsh interrogation" over an unpaid debt.

The International Business Times identified the man as Irzen Octa, who was $5,700 in debt on his Citibank credit card. He reportedly was led walking into a room in Jakarta last March but emerged a few hours later in a wheelchair. Investigators presume Octa, 50, was either unconscious or dead by that point, the Times reported. 

There reportedly were no video cameras in the room, which was described in a Bloomberg article as barely larger than "the size of a broom closet."

A Jakarta police spokesman told The Washington Post that Octa died of a "harsh interrogation." The man’s wife told the paper that she’s suing the bank for $350 million, claiming he was beaten by debt collectors. 

Police reports have been inconsistent. Some indicate the evidence does not support the claim of physical violence, while other reports indicate that blood stains were visible on the floor, the Times reported.

Citibank, for its part, told The Post that it found no evidence of physical violence after an internal investigation. But the paper reported the police investigation into the incident resulted in the arrest of five people, non of them bank employees, on suspicion of “group violence” and “mistreatment resulting in death.”

Tigor Siahaan, head of the bank's Indonesia operations, told The Post that the bank does not “condone, encourage or practice violence, or even harsh language.”

But debt collectors in the country have a reputation for being aggressive, according to the paper.

Other clients in Indonesia have complained that they’ve been mishandled by the bank. Last May, the bank sent a senior officer to the country make sure such scandals are addressed, The Post reported.

The bank offered Octa’s family a monthly stipend and life insurance for his widow, but the family declined, The Post reported.

Please click here for the entire article from The Washington Post.

Please click here for the entire article from The International Business Times.