London

Westminster Council pension fund fraudster jailed

Ian Woodall mugshot Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Ian Woodall committed "persistent abuse" of his trusted position, a judge said

A former council officer who stole £1m from the authority's pension fund has been jailed for seven years.

Ian Woodall, 47, funnelled cash through Swiss bank accounts, using it to buy a house and cars and fund his lifestyle.

He worked for Westminster Council as an interim chief investment officer, but was employed as a contractor through his own firm.

Woodall was found guilty of fraud and money laundering after a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Judge Stephen Robbins said Woodall, of Mickleham, Surrey, "occupied a period of trust" between January 2009 and December 2012."

"You know the time has come when you must be sentenced for this appalling conduct, your dishonesty," the judge told him.

"This was persistent abuse of that position of trust that you were occupying as financial officer in charge of Westminster Council's pension fund.

"You misappropriated in the order of £1.05 million and went to great lengths to sort that money in Swiss and other bank accounts."

Woodall stopped working for Westminster Council at the end of 2010 as an accountancy firm spotted significant discrepancies within the staff pension fund in 2013.

Following the sentencing, Det Sgt Andrew Bailey, of Scotland Yard's fraud squad, said work to recover the stolen money continued.

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