City watchdog bans Stonegate fare dodger

Stonegate station
Stonegate station

A high-flying City executive who paid back nearly £43,000 after he was caught dodging rail fares as he commuted from Stonegate station has been banned from the financial industry.

Jonathan Burrows, who reportedly earned £1 million a year, admitted his behaviour was ‘foolish’ saying the ban came after an unblemished 20-year career.

Mr Burrows left his job as managing director of BlackRock Asset Management Investor Services earlier this year.

On Tuesday he was banned by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) from performing any function in the industry it regulates ‘for not being fit and proper’ after the fare dodging, which was believed to have taken place over five years.

Mr Burrows carried out the ruse by boarding the London-bound train from the rural station of Stonegate used by Heathfield commuters as a fast route into the City, without buying a ticket, before ‘tapping out’ using an Oyster card at Cannon Street. It meant he paid a £7.20 maximum Oyster fare rather than paying for a £21.50 train ticket for the one hour 22 minute journey.

Tracey McDermott, FCA director of enforcement and financial crime, said: “Burrows held a senior position within the financial services industry. His actions 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.”

He was caught in November last year by an inspector next to the barriers and was able to pay the £42,550 in dodged fares and £450 in legal costs within three days as part of an out-of-court settlement with rail firm Southeastern.

Mr Burrows said: “I have always recognised that what I did was foolish. I have apologised to all concerned and reiterate that apology publicly. The settlement I made with Southeastern in March 2014 was for an amount significantly in excess of the value of the fares not paid by me on the small number of occasions that I failed to pay. While I respect the FCA’s decision, I also regret it, coming as it did after a 20-year career in the City that was without blemish. The size of the settlement could be said to have led to a distorted perception of the scale of my wrong-doing. However, that does not change the fact that what I did was wrong and I accept that.

“I am sorry that my case has taken up its time at this critical juncture for the future of the City and its reputation.”