A Citibank employee has been fired for claiming expenses for his partner's meals and lying about it.
Szabolcs Fekete was a financial crime analyst who had worked at Citi for seven years. In July 2022, he travelled to Amsterdam for work.
On returning to London, he filed an expense claim for food and drink which he believed was covered by the bank's €100 daily allowance.
However, his manager queried whether he had consumed all the food and refreshments he was seeking reimbursement for.
In an email exchange, Fekete wrote that he had consumed all the food and drinks himself.
He said that he had skipped breakfast and only had one coffee in the morning.
For lunch, he had one sandwich with a drink and one coffee in the restaurant.
He then took another coffee back to the office with him and had the second sandwich in the afternoon which also served as his dinner.
Fekete told Citibank that all his expenses were within the €100 daily allowance and asked what their concern was, as he didn't think he had to justify his eating habits to this extent.
The bank stated that its query was not about the amount, but whether the claim breached its expense management policy, which states that espousal travel and meals are not reimbursable.
It also states that all attendees whose meals are submitted for reimbursement must be listed.
Citibank escalated the matter to its security and investigations services department which also questioned Fekete about whether he had shared a meal of pasta pesto and a bolognaise with his partner, to which he replied "no".
The banker later admitted that he had shared meals with his partner. He also said that he was having personal difficulties following the death of his grandmother, had taken six weeks of medical leave and was on strong medication when he replied to emails.
However, the bank ultimately dismissed him. Fekete took Citibank to court for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal.
But in the judgement, which was first reported by the Financial Times, Employment Judge Illing found in favour of the bank.
The judge said that Fekete had not made a full and frank disclosure at the first opportunity and had not answered questions directly.
Judge Illing added that Fekete was employed in a position of trust in a global financial institution and that the bank requires a commitment to honesty from its employees.
A spokesperson for Citibank said that they were pleased with the decision.