Pension fund manager found guilty of stealing almost £1m

A pension fund manager at the UK’s Westminster City Council has been found guilty of stealing nearly £1m from an employee retirement scheme.

Ian Woodall, 47, duped colleagues into approving successive payments by disguising them as investments. Over the three years from 2009, Woodall siphoned off £924,841 from the £1bn employee pension fund.

Woodall then transferred the money to Swiss bank accounts and later moved it back into his British accounts, from where he used the money to refurbish his new home, and bought several cars.

Southwark crown court passed the guilty verdict on Monday, where the jury unanimously convicted Woodall of fraud.

Kevin Dent, for the prosecution, said: “He diverted those funds through Swiss bank accounts in both his personal and company details back to the UK, where it was dissipated through his personal and company bank accounts.

“Once there it was used to fund the purchase of his house, car and to support his lifestyle.

“Although the transactions in question in this case were signed for or ‘authorised’ by others, they would have taken Woodall very largely on trust.

“Monies were carefully hidden and then most of the monies came back into the UK to be used by him and his wife. We suggest quite a clever and sophisticated operation being run by Woodall.”

Judge Stephen Robbins adjourned sentencing until 16 November.

Christopher Copper-Ind
Christopher Copper-Ind is Publisher and Editor of International Investment. His previous publishing experience focused largely on the Middle East and emerging markets, and he was Editorial Director of The Business Year, based in Istanbul, for three years before moving back to London in 2017. He is the author of How to Negotiate, to be published by Macmillan in 2019.

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