As most children grow up learning, it’s not necessarily the size of the transgression that does you in. It’s being found out, digging in, and lying about it. And that’s even more the case if you’re an adult describing yourself as a financial-crime professional.
Szabolcs Fekete, a senior analyst in London, has lost a lawsuit alleging wrongful dismissal after he was fired by Citi
for submitting an expenses claim that, though below the bank’s €100, or $105, daily limit, raised red flags for the heroic consumption of coffee, sandwiches and bolognaise on display. In a ruling in the case, which was published on Oct. 13, a judge with the East London employment tribunal said Fekete described his work as developing internal strategies, policies and risk-management frameworks to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. “From his evidence the claimant confirmed that he was a financial-crime professional,” the ruling said. His dismissal in November 2022, seven years after joining Citi, came after management queried an expense claim for a three-day business trip to Amsterdam earlier that year because it appeared to reflect consumption by two people. After his claim was rejected, Fekete wrote in an email to a senior manager that he “was on the business trip by myself and that I had 2 coffees as they were very small.” When the senior asked to confirm that Fekete was claiming that he alone consumed two coffees, two sandwiches and another drink, Fekete replied: “Yes that is correct. … On that day I skipped break …