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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 February, 2004, 17:56 GMT
PA 'admitted million-pound theft'
Joyti De-Laurey
Joyti De-Laurey denies the charges against her
A top City banker has told of the moment a former secretary confessed to stealing a seven figure fortune from him.

Ron Beller, 41, said he would have "strangled" Joyti De-Laurey had she not been on the phone.

He told London's Southwark Crown Court that her alleged revelations left him "floored and shocked".

Ms De-Laurey, 35, from North Cheam, Surrey, denies stealing nearly 4.5m from several bankers over two years.

It was, Mr Beller insisted, the first inkling the women he had always regarded as "very competent" was nothing but a "thief," the court heard.

He said although she maintained she had stolen no more than 300,000 from him and his wife while they were managing directors at Goldman Sachs, the real figure was nearly four times that.

Spending spree

Similarly the 1m he claimed she admitted taking from Edward Scott Mead, their successor at the investment bank, turned out to be well over 3m.

Ms De-Laurey, denies a total of 21 allegations of theft between 27 June, 2000 and 26 April, 2002.

Fourteen of the charges accuse her of obtaining money transfers by deception while the remainder claim she used "false instruments".

Her husband Anthony, a 50-year-old former chauffeur, and her GP mother, Dr Devi Schahhou, 67, of Hampstead, north-west London, have each pleaded not guilty to associated money laundering charges.

Stuart Trimmer, prosecuting, has claimed the personal assistant used the money to indulge in "astonishing" spending sprees that included a 300,000 Cartier collection, designer clothes and expensive cars.

He said she also splashed out 750,000 on a seafront villa in Cyprus where she planned to start a new life.

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27 Jan 04  |  London
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21 Jan 04  |  London
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20 Jan 04  |  London

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