A Caymanian man, who fled the
Cayman 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
“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.