$67,000 fare-dodger banned from finance industry


A former BlackRock investment manager who dodged £43,000 ($67,358) in train fares on his daily commute has been banned from practising by the U.K.'s financial watchdog.

Jonathan Paul Burrows, an ex-managing director at BlackRock Asset Management, was barred from "performing any function in relation to any regulated activities for not being fit and proper,", according to Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

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"'Burrows held a senior position within the financial services industry. His conduct fell short of the standards we expect. Approved persons must act with honesty and integrity at all times and, where they do not, we will take action," Tracey McDermott the FCA's director of enforcement and financial crime, said in a statement.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The city executive, travelled into the city from a small village to the south east of London called Stonegate, a journey that should have cost him £21.50 each way. Instead he paid less than a third of that by exploiting a loophole in London's electronic "Oyster" ticketing system.

Users of the Oyster card have to "tap in" on a machine at the destination they are leaving from, then "tap out" at the exit barriers on the other end. If a commuter does not tap in, they will be charged a maximum £7.20 on the other end of the journey when they tap out.

Burrows exploited this loophole by not "tapping in" at the start of his journey and then accepting the £7.20 charge when he arrived at London's Cannon Street station in the heart of the financial district.

The story broke in the British press in April and an investigation by the FCA followed. Burrows identity was unknown at the time but was quickly found out by the Daily Mail.

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The FCA said that Burrows admitted to evading his train fare on numerous occasions and had done so knowing he was breaking the law. Burrows also said he had not admitted his actions to his former employer. Burrows left his job at Blackrock in August.

"While I respect the FCA's decision today, I also regret it, coming as it did after a 20-year career in the City that was without blemish,'' Burrows said in a statement reported by Reuters.

"I recognize that the FCA has on its plate more profound wrong-doing than mine in the financial services sector, and I am sorry that my case has taken up its time at this critical juncture for the future of the City and its reputation."

The passenger paid Southeastern rail company back £42,550 in dodged fares in an out-of-court settlement and £450 legal cost within three days. There was public outrage at the fact that a highly-paid city executive could get away with dodging fares by settling with Southeastern.

"Jonathan Burrows left BlackRock earlier this year. What he admitted to the FCA is totally contrary to our values and principles," BlackRock said in a statement.