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Citibank wins lawsuit against fired analyst who expensed his partner’s meals to the company and then claimed he ate two of everything
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Citibank wins lawsuit against fired analyst who expensed his partner’s meals to the company and then claimed he ate two of everything
Jan 15, 2024 7:08 PM

  Former Citibank Analyst's Unfair Dismissal Claim Rejected

  Employee Lied About Food Expenses

  A former Citibank analyst, Szabolcs Fekete, has lost his claim of unfair dismissal after a tribunal discovered he had lied about buying food for his partner and charging it to his employer.

  Fekete, who was a senior analyst, claimed he had been both wrongfully and unfairly dismissed by Citibank. However, documents from the court case in September, which were made public last week, show that Fekete took a business trip to Amsterdam in July 2022 and told a colleague he was taking his partner on the three-night trip.

  Upon returning from abroad, Fekete signed off for six weeks on medical leave. The documents, seen by Fortune, say Fekete had been struggling with the loss of his grandmother prior to the incident, describing her death as a "significant loss" to the claimant.

  Expense Reports Raised Concerns

  However, Fekete's expense reports, submitted while on medical leave at the end of July, raised concerns for his senior colleague, a Citi director. The director questioned why Fekete's expense report appeared to show meals for two people and asked the claimant to add the name of whichever colleague he had eaten with.

  Citi's expense policy clearly states that spousal travel and meals are not reimbursable, and that any employee attendees the company has been asked to pay for must be named.

  When questioned about the additional items, Fekete claimed all the food and drinks were for him. He said, "I was on the business trip by myself and that I had two coffees as they were very small."

  When further questioned by a manager about how he had appeared to eat two sandwiches, consume two coffees, and a third drink in one sitting, Fekete elaborated, "I skipped breakfast and only had one coffee in the morning.

  "For lunch, I had one sandwich with a drink and one coffee in the restaurant, and took another coffee back to the office with me and had the second sandwich in the afternoon…which also served as my dinner."

  Fekete also pushed back on the questioning by saying he was "well within" the company's daily limit of €100.

  Employee Admitted to Using Personal Card

  Fekete's story became even more complicated when he was called into a Zoom meeting to discuss the expense claim after further questions were raised about why two meals were being charged to the company on other occasions.

  During the Zoom meeting, Fekete was asked whether he traveled with any other members of staff and whether he may have accidentally claimed the food for his partner. He denied both.

  However, Fekete later admitted that there had been some "overlap" between his personal card and company card. He confirmed that some of the food on the expense report had been consumed by his partner.

  In further disciplinary hearings, Fekete claimed he wasn't clear on Citi's policies regarding expense claims and that he had not made further clarifications to management because he was stressed and anxious.

  The London tribunal, first reported by the Financial Times, rejected this reasoning, finding both the complaints of unfair and wrongful dismissal to be "not well founded."

  A spokeswoman for Citibank told Fortune, "We are pleased with the decision."

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