In a surprising turn of events, Szabolcs Fekete, the senior Citibank banking analyst who was recently dismissed for allegedly falsely claiming expenses for two sandwiches, has been revealed to be a financial crime expert. The incident in question occurred when Mr. Fekete expensed two sandwiches, two coffees, and two pasta dishes during a business trip to Amsterdam. Despite his claims that he consumed all the items himself, the bank found his explanation unconvincing, leading to his termination.
Fekete, who worked in London as a senior financial crime expert, defended his expenses, stating that he purchased two coffees because they were "small," and the second sandwich was intended for his dinner after having the first for lunch. He also pointed out that the expenses were well within the bank's daily limit of 100 euros (£87). "I don't think I have to justify my eating habits to this extent," he remarked.
However, an internal investigation was launched by Citibank, which eventually led to Fekete's dismissal. During the investigation, he admitted that his partner had accompanied him on the trip, even though they were not employed by Citibank. He continued to assert that he had personally consumed all the food and beverages in question.
Fekete later disclosed that he was going through personal difficulties following the death of his grandmother, was on medical leave from work, and was taking medication while responding to questions about his expenses claim.
After a hearing in September, employment judge Caroline Illing ruled in favor of Citibank, stating that the core issue was not the monetary value of the expenses but Fekete's failure to provide a "full and frank disclosure." Judge Illing emphasized the importance of honesty as a commitment required from Citibank employees. She stated, "I have accepted that the expense report may have been submitted in error. However, I am satisfied that a dismissal in relation to the misrepresentation allegation alone would fall within the band of a reasonable response by a reasonable employer."
The case highlights the significance of integrity and transparency in the financial industry, even for individuals with expertise in financial crime. Fekete's dismissal serves as a reminder that adherence to corporate policies and ethical standards remains paramount in the banking sector.
By fLEXI tEAM