Bank's star employee admits £21m fraud

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A bank employee who was three times named business manager of the year yesterday admitted embezzling £21m.

Donald Mackenzie spent five years at the Royal Bank of Scotland operating, in effect, a bank within a bank as he opened an intricate web of false accounts with names similar to existing customers, drew down massive unauthorised loans and defeated complex security measures.

As a senior member of staff at the bank's flagship branch in Edinburgh, Mackenzie, 45, spent almost 30 years working his way up to a position of trust.

Such was the complexity of his fraud that the bank thought he was generating more business and gave him bonuses of £35,000. He was found out in 2004 after a new security system was introduced.

Mackenzie of Belgrave Gardens, Edinburgh, also pleaded guilty, at the High Court in Edinburgh, to stealing £37,170 between 15 May 2000 and 14 April 2004. He has been remanded in custody to await sentencing.