Islands years ago pending trial on drug charges, is facing a charge
of fraud by abuse of power.
According to the London Evening Standard, Kerry
Whittaker, 34, was working as a personal banker with Lloyds TSB when he took £217,000
from a customer’s account and funnelled it to a blonde Hungarian woman, who
entered his Bromley Branch dressed in shorts and a “skimpy” top.
Courts Correspondent for the Evening Standard Paul
Cheston said Whittaker admitted finding 26-year-old Viktoria Kazi “hot” and
when questioned about the transactions, he claimed he was distracted by the
young lady’s appearance.
The court was told that Kazi spent the funds like
“Monopoly money” and blew £42,000 in one day on jewellery from Ernest Jones
stores in Brighton and Coyden.
The remainder of the proceeds was said to be spent on
other “luxury goods”.
During the proceedings, Whittaker insisted he was
forced to take the money as a result of being blackmailed by a man called John
from Nigeria who knew of a
drug conviction he had as a teenager in the Cayman Islands.
The victim of the fraud, Lloyds TSB customer John
Meadows, of Northampton,
was unaware of the alleged fraud until checking his balance to find only £13,000
was left from a £230,000 account.
Investigators told the Sanaresbrook Crown Court they
found that Whittaker had taken £217,000 of which £172,000 was placed in Kazi’s
nearly empty Lloyds TSB current account.
Whittaker denied any wrong doing when first questioned
in interviews with Lloyds TSB Investigator Pam McIntosh.
Seven days after he claimed he was acting under
duress, Whittaker told Ms McIntosh he had been jailed for drugs offences as a
teenager but did not make his employers aware of this.
He said he received threats from a Nigerian con-man
named “John” who threatened to tell Lloyds TSB about his past.
A transcript of the October 2008 interview was read
out to the court by Prosecutor David Radcliffe in which Whittaker claimed
John warned: “How would the bank like to know you have been in prison?”
McIntosh then asked Whittaker what he went to jail for. Whittaker told him, “I
went to prison for smoking weed at 17,” adding that John repeatedly pressured
him in a series of phone calls.
“I have opened up an account for someone who I didn’t
think was the right person,” said Whittaker.
He said he lied during his initial interview because
of fear that the Nigerian man had insiders in the bank watching him.
“I felt as if John knew too much about how I worked,”
Whittaker told Ms McIntosh. He said he would get calls in the morning and there
were other people apparently telling the man how he was acting at work and what
meetings he had next.
Whittaker denies fraud by abuse of position, while
Kazi denies three counts of dishonestly making a false representation, two
counts of money laundering and attempting to procure execution of a valuable
security by deception.