Charges Brought in £5,000,000 Diocesan Fraud Case
The man at the centre of the £5,000,000 Diocese of London Fraud case has been named and charged by the Metropolitan Police Department. The EC was informed several months ago that Martin Sargeant was the name of the person under investigation but could not reveal his name unless he was formally charged. That happened on 8 July.
The Bishop of London remarked on the situation.
“The Metropolitan Police has today confirmed that Martin Sargeant, former Head of Operations in the Two Cities, has been charged with fraud and money-laundering, dating back to between 2009 and 2019. I am all too conscious that, in our recent meetings, I have not been able to discuss this case but I hope you can appreciate now that, over the past year, the LDF has worked closely to support the Police and to maintain the confidential, sensitive nature of their complex investigation at their request. Trustees of the London Diocesan Fund were first informed on a confidential basis, with permission of the Police, earlier this year. Any church or other organisation known to be relevant to these enquiries has already been approached as part of the investigation.
“The fraud is historic in nature, and does not relate to Common Fund or the present day funding of parishes. I would like to underline my gratitude to the LDF Team, who have worked tirelessly with the Police over the past year, on what is an extremely complex case. The total sum of money involved is believed to be in the region of £5,000,000 affecting a number of different organisations.”
Richard Perry, Chair of London Diocesan Fund’s Audit and Risk Committee told the Christian Post, “Our independent auditors have also carried out an urgent review of our present-day financial controls, to confirm they are robust. A second independent inquiry will report to the London Diocesan Fund’s trustees and look at what happened and how, and will make any further recommendations for the future, once the current case has been closed.”
The Sunday Times reportedly linked Sargeant to allegations made against Fr Alan Griffin, a former Anglican cleric who had become a Roman Catholic priest. The allegations and the subsequent year long investigation preceded Griffin’s death by suicide in 2020.