Nation reels in shock as UK challenger bank accused of harbouring thieves and paedophiles
If you haven’t read the Sunday Herald today I suggest you nip out and get a copy before they all sell out. If you have, I’m guessing you may already have choked on your Chocolate Weetos. Especially if you’re an employee of the chippy UK challenger bank UK Cash Cowboys, as I am, headed up by our ex-RBS storm-trooper of a CEO Cleopatra LeGrande, who was awarded an OBE for services to bullying last January.
A double whammy of a scandal broke at Cash Cowboys headquarters this morning after it was revealed that the organisation, which likes to position itself as the new, caring face of modern banking, was secretly harbouring paedophiles and thieves in our midst. It was news to me, but then again I only work in the marketing team. They never tell us anything.
Apparently, first news leaked of a story Cleopatra LeGrande had been trying to keep completely under wraps, for understandable reasons. Word is that Darren Darkes, a long-standing junior member of Cleopatra’s corporate culture team, has been part of an evil paedophile ring swapping disgusting images of children online. Struth. That one came out of nowhere. Who’d have thought, old Dazza Darkes, married with two kids of his own. Shared many a beer with him at corporate off-sites. How do you spot these people? The company, which had apparently known about the allegations for some time but not told us, had refused to dismiss Darkes, and he had continued to work at Cash Cowboys while on bail leading up to his court case. Only when he was found guilty and sentenced in January, did the powers that be terminate his contract. Oh, so THAT’S where he got to! We were all wondering where he’d disappeared. We’d assumed he’d just been taken into the car park and shot for under-performing in his role, in one of Cleopatra’s summary executions. They happen all the time at the Cowboys. She runs a tight ship here.
Anyway, the next thing is, we read in today’s Sunday Herald that Ashok Strange, a financial adviser working at our Griffnock branch of UK Cash Cowboys in Renfrewshire, has been jailed for five years for stealing almost half a million quid from Stanley and Doris Gulliver, a 90 year old couple suffering from Alzheimers. Bloody hell.
Personally I didn’t know the bloke, but his deed definitely fits the culture of merciless competition and greed Cleopatra has instilled in the workforce here, since we became a ‘challenger bank.’ According to the Herald, Strange even had his own fundraising page on UK Cash Cowboys Giving, where he purported to run marathons in support of good causes. Which it now emerges was just a smokescreen to hide his unscrupulous behaviour. Bit like the company, I suppose.
The Sheriff at the Paisley Court said Strange had befriended the two pensioners in 2011 when they had sought financial advice about investing a £1.4 million nest egg they’d inherited from a long lost American relative who had recently died. Taking advantage of the oldies’ failing mental health, Strange apparently siphoned off £465,000 of their dosh into his private bank account between January 2011 and December 2012, in an “appalling breach of trust” as the Sheriff put it. What a complete scumbag. I’m surprised Cleopatra hadn’t promoted him to her Senior Human Inquisition Team (fondly known as the SHIT here at Cowboys). With that kind of track record he’d have gone a long way in this organisation.
The Herald went on: “Pleading his innocence, the financial adviser tried to claim the old couple had given him the money as a gift to help him buy a new toaster after his old one went up in flames. Admitting that he may have slightly exaggerated the price of the toaster to embezzle £465,000 out of the old couple, Strange put it down to an innocent miscalculation he had made in the rate of inflation.
“When asked how much he’d need for his new toaster, Strange told the pensioners his old one had cost him £46.50 from the Argos in Sauchiehall Street, in 2007. Then using an inflation figure of 10% (it had averaged 2.5% a year from 2007-2011), Strange should have calculated the cost of the new toaster at £50.65. But the decimal point had inexplicably slipped several places, leading him to arrive at an inflation figure of a million per cent.
Asked by the Sheriff whether, as a professional financial adviser, a figure of that magnitude shouldn’t have alerted Strange to an obvious error in his calculations, he replied, “well we were in the middle of the credit crunch, there were some scary numbers flying around. I think it’s a legitimate error anyone could have made.” Strange added, in his defence, “I hadn’t got my calculator with me on the day so I worked it out on the back of Mr Gulliver’s cheque book. Admittedly it does seem a bit on the high side now, looking back. But hindsight is a wonderful thing. At the time I was in a bit of a hurry as I had three other old couples I had to r… see that day, so I needed to crack on. It was a genuine mistake, for which I am most humbly apology, your Lordship.”
Sheriff Tom McGonagall was unmoved by the financial adviser’s plea, as he was by the submission of Strange’s solicitor that thanks to his client’s advice the Gullivers’ remaining £935,000 had benefited from £7.62 growth on the stock market between 2011 and 2012, even after the deduction of his client’s £27,899 fees. Sentencing the evil scumbag to five years in prison, Sheriff McGonagall remarked, “how in God’s name that tawdry company UK Cash Cowboys were ever awarded a banking licence is a bigger mystery to me than the origin of the universe itself,” which seems a bit harsh.
Our great CEO Cleopatra LeGrande OBE was apparently unavailable for comment this morning when the double whammy broke in the news. No shit Sherlock. Nor was Group Chairman Sir Richard Pickle, apparently, who was refusing to comment from his Caribbean island getaway of Slapper Island.
When asked for a comment, our Culture Director Steve ‘WD40’ Lovett was quoted in the press as saying Cleopatra LeGrande was “completely unaware of any bad shit whatsoever happening anywhere in the organisation. Yeah, technically you could say it was paedophilia and criminal fraud on a massive scale, but we prefer to call it inappropriate behaviour. UK Cash Cowboys is an equal opportunities employer who wouldn’t allow any bad shit like that to happen. Our CEO has made a very public statement about the company’s commitment to supporting good causes, like saving the whales and the environment, and all that shit. Plus she sends a member of staff out to buy a copy of The Big Issue from the stinky guy on the corner every morning. OBE’s don’t just fall off a shelf, you know. There’s the UK Cash Cowboys Marathon, and our charitable arm UK Cash Cowboys Giving. I mean, what more proof do you vont, fool, zat ve are ze company viz ze heart of gold! All ze staff get free luncheon vouchers and nobody iz shot wizout ze express permission of our great leader Cleopatra LeGrande, UNDERSTANT! Dumbkopft. Heil LeGrande! No wait, scrub that. Ashok who?”by