7/7 probe officer 'defrauded Met'
A debt-ridden counter-terrorism officer defrauded the Metropolitan Police out of nearly £10,000 while investigating the July 7 bombings, a court has heard.
Detective Sergeant Peter Allbut, 45, fraudulently paid £9,200 into his personal bank account, a jury at London's Southwark Crown Court was told.
Paul Watson QC, opening the case, said Allbut, from the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command, was one of a number of officers deployed to Leeds following the terrorist attacks on London in 2005.
The court heard that the officers had been posted in hotels initially but as accommodation costs mounted they were moved to rented accommodation.
Allbut was one of a number of officers entitled to withdraw cash on an American Express card to pay the monthly rent bills for the Leeds accommodation. But, Mr Watson said, he took advantage of this access and instead deposited sums of money into his own account on three occasions.
He fraudulently withdrew £2,200, £4,000 and £3,000 between February and May 2007, it is alleged. The four-monthly bill for accommodation was around £50,000, but American Express records revealed that £59,200 had in fact been withdrawn.
Mr Watson said: "It's the prosecution's case that the reason for that excess was DS Allbut had taken out the cash for his own purposes, unconnected with the payment of the rent."
He added that on the first occasion, on February 2007, Allbut had withdrawn £2,200 on top of the money withdrawn for the rent. He said: "That was clearly in excess of what was required for the accommodation charges. It's right to say that some six to seven weeks later after the withdrawal that Mr Allbut paid the same sum into his own personal bank account."
Mr Watson, said that this scenario was repeated on two separate occasions in the following months with the money being paid into his account. He told the court that Allbut had been "heavily in debt" at the time.
The Met Police subsequently launched an inquiry into American Express payments and Allbut was arrested in connection with the investigations in May last year. He denies three counts of fraud.