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Foreign Exchange

Snouts in troughs, or expenses abuse: We all make mistakes

There has been a growing furore in the UK over the way many parliamentary politicians would appear to have abused their expenses. No doubt revelations such as the one about the MP who claimed £16,000 to cover a mortgage that he’d already paid off will have led to Schadenfreude among all those “fat cat bankers” who so recently found themselves being pilloried by the very same mob now being exposed as dodgy.

But I feel we should all be more forgiving. Most of us have, if we are honest, sometimes made a mistake filling in expenses claims. I remember a former colleague at Midland, nicknamed Johnny Longlunch, who once erroneously submitted a Boots the Chemist receipt. And to make his embarrassment worse, the receipt was for a job lot of condoms he’d bought and, if that wasn’t bad enough, he was shacked up at the time with one of the bank’s technical analysts.

Similarly, there was a broker of my acquaintance who once claimed for a pair of shoes, as well as racking up a series of speeding and parking fines in his company car, all of which he routed back to his employer. When he left, he returned the car, a lovely Renault Gordini Turbo, with a dent in every panel, including the roof. Oh, and the firm also found out that he'd never passed his driving test. So, I would contend, British MPs are not that bad.

But then again...

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