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Finance Director jailed for three years after stealing from employer

Friday 13th September, 2019

An accountant who splashed out on luxury holidays, chauffeur-driven cars and hotel stays at The Shard with cash stolen from an architects firm has been jailed for three years.

He used first-class services on trips to Dubai, the US and Portugal and once left a £100 tip after enjoying a meal on company funds, the jury at his trial heard. These were paid for on his company credit card while finance director for Watkins Grey International in London Bridge,

He denied fraud, insisting he had been entitled to spend the money and was a hard-working member of staff, but was convicted of two counts of fraud by abuse of position between April 2014 and July 2017.

Sentencing him yesterday, Judge Rachim Singh said up to £103,000 had been stolen by Sathiyabalan over three years.

“There were luxury holidays claimed for, expensive stays in expensive hotels particularly The Shard, and occasions when you booked very exclusive restaurants for your own use, including one occasion you indicated was for your wife’s birthday,” he said.

“You had the audacity to tip a waiter £100 — that was the sort of lavish lifestyle you decided you were able to live by simply defrauding your employer.

The court heard that he'd joined the firm in 2008 and became financial director in 2013. The alarm was raised when a member of staff realised the company was being fined more than £5,000 a week over unpaid bills, and an external accountant was brought in.