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Martin Sargeant appears in court charged with fraud and money laundering

08 August 2022

He allegedly spent millions on ‘frivolous things’ over a decade, court hears

ALAMY

Martin Sargeant leaves Westminster Magistrates’ Court, London, on Friday

Martin Sargeant leaves Westminster Magistrates’ Court, London, on Friday

THE former Head of Operations in the Two Cities, Martin Sargeant, who is accused of defrauding the London Diocesan Fund (LDF) of £5.2 million over a decade, allegedly spent the money on “personal entertainment or frivolous things like gambling”, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard last Friday.

A significant proportion of the money was allegedly spent on 180 British Airways flights, the court heard. Prosecuting, Malachy Pakenham described this as “quite an achievement”, and said: “I should imagine even Alan Whicker in his day wouldn’t have clocked up as many flights as this defendant did over this period.”

Mr Sargeant, who is 52 from Dudley, was charged with fraud by false representation and money laundering last month (News, 15 July). News of his arrested had emerged two months previously, but at the time he could not be named (News, 25 May).

Appearing in court for the first time last Friday, Mr Sargeant, who has been granted bail on condition that he does not leave the country or contact the diocese of London, spoke to confirm his name, date of birth, and address in Dudley, West Midlands, local media reports. He gave no indication of his plea when the charges were put to him.

Magistrates decided that the charges were too serious to be dealt with in their court, and sent the case to Southwark Crown Court, where Mr Sargeant will appear at a later date.

The charges relate to his time as Head of Operations, between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2019.

Mr Sargeant left his post after a review by the incoming Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally. The diocese has said that there was no suspicion or evidence of criminality until last year, when the LDF made a report to the Action Fraud unit of the police, and a serious incident report to the Charity Commission, after a parish raised concerns about funds they had not received. There followed a year of investigation, kept confidential at the request of the Metropolitan Police.

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