Trainee accountant stole £500,000 from bank customers

A trainee accountant could be sent to jail for participating in a £500,000 fraud, after he stole personal data about wealthy customers whilst he was working at HBOS.

25 year old Imran Ali was one of more than eight conspirators involved in the scheme. At the time, Ali was a student of accountancy at Bradford University.

Between May 2007 and February the following year, the fraudsters stole details of wealthy HBOS customers and used the information to create false documentation that fooled HBOS into thinking that the owners were debiting their bank accounts.

Ali accessed nine accounts and stole nearly half a million pounds. HBOS prevented the theft of a further £100,000. He pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to defraud. An HBOS audit trail showed he went through HBOS’s customer database regularly and was the only bank employee to access all nine accounts without a justifiable reason to do so.

Meanwhile, HMRC may be disappointed to learn that its efforts to tackle tax evasion have been thwarted by some Swiss banks which have begun to help UK clients transfer their funds to Singapore.

Singapore has a secretive banking system and does not have any agreements to share information with western states. One accountant said he knew that some smaller Swiss banking institutions were intending to open branches in Singapore before the Anglo-Swiss agreement comes into force on 31st May 2013.

A spokesperson from the Swiss Banking Association said banks were told in March 2011 that they must not help customers move funds to other tax havens, but not all banks have confirmed that they will comply.

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