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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
The power of a City PA
By Kate Newman
BBC News Online, London

Joyti De-Laurey was one of a new breed of personal assistants - who can wield as much power in her boss' personal life as in the office.

Joyti De-Laurey
Joyti De-Laurey denied the charges against her
De-Laurey abused her special position with Goldman Sachs to pilfer nearly 4.5m by forging her bosses' signatures on cheques.

During the trial, De-Laurey said two of her employers knew about the financial transfers which were a reward for her "priceless" services, such as covering up for one of them who was allegedly having an affair.

Dr Christina Hughes, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Warwick, told BBC News Online that the secretarial role has not really changed.

"High level secretaries have been covering up for people's affairs forever," she said.

"The job itself hasn't changed - the technology has - but I don't think the level of trust between a boss and his assistant has.

"The job of a PA is more than a secretary - organising dry cleaning, managing diaries - and they have always guarded the bosses' door."

She wanted an equally glamorous lifestyle and was not willing to be put in a subservient position while her bosses lived in plush surroundings
Dr Hughes, senior lecturer in sociology
De-Laurey joined Goldman Sachs as a temp in 1998, but was promoted to a 28,000-a-year job as a personal assistant to managing directors Ron Beller and Jennifer Moses.

They later helped her to get a rise, bringing her gross salary with bonuses to 42,000 a year.

A trusted secretary, De-Laurey's bosses had described her as being "very competent" in her job.

Dr Hughes, who specialises in studying womens' working lives, said that on the surface the 35-year-old seemed to be an efficient and courteous person.

But it also appeared that she had a sense of entitlement to the money.

De-Laurey told the court: "I had had the opportunity whereby people I worked for let me have money from them. How I spent it surely is down to myself."

She spent the money on a lavish lifestyle which Dr Hughes thinks shows De-Laurey's sense of entitlement to having similar wealth for herself.

Dr Hughes said: "She wanted an equally glamorous lifestyle and was not willing to be put in a subservient position while her bosses lived in plush surroundings."

PA convicted of 4.3m bank fraud
20 Apr 04  |  London
De-Laurey's letters to God
20 Apr 04  |  London
'Fairy tale' world of crooked PA
20 Apr 04  |  London

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