No charges against ex-Leeds City Credit Union boss

Sue Davenport.
Sue Davenport.
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The former head of England’s biggest credit union altered details of thousands of members’ accounts and used a corporate credit card to rack up bills at luxury shops and hotels, a report has found.

Sue Davenport, chief executive of Leeds City Credit Union (LCU), also obtained loans totalling more than £100,000, mostly without evidence of approval or agreement.

Details of Mrs Davenport’s activities at LCU, which has 25,000 members, feature in an audit by Leeds City Council.

But after a three-year investigation by West Yorkshire Police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has recommended Mrs Davenport should not face criminal charges.

The investigation into Mrs Davenport – who was required to resign in 2008 by the Financial Services Authority – found she changed loan repayment dates on members’ accounts.

Auditors found this “manipulated” LCU’s accounts, so they looked much healthier than they were.

They also found she had spent £24,000 on a corporate credit card in 20 months, including £5,000 in one month on hotels and travel.

Auditors found no record of Mrs Davenport, pictured, reimbursing any costs.

They also found the card had been used to spend £552 at Harvey Nichols, £263 at John Lewis and £102 at Marks & Spencer.

Out of 280 transactions, only eight were backed by receipts.

LCU almost collapsed in 2009 when it emerged around £2m of toxic debt had gone unreported. It was only saved by an emergency bailout of £4m from public funds.

LCU then called in auditors to investigate Mrs Davenport’s actions.

In 2009, shortly after they had completed their work and uncovered a raft of serious concerns, she applied to be declared bankrupt.

Her debts of more than £90,000 included around £40,000 owed to the credit union.

She was arrested on suspicion of fraud in March 2010.

A police spokeswoman said: “A thorough investigation was conducted by West Yorkshire Police’s economic crime unit.”

She added: “Having taken advice from both the CPS and independent counsel a decision has been made not to continue with the investigation.”

Mrs Davenport declined to comment.