Inquest begins into death of Abbey IT worker

Inquest begins into death of Abbey IT worker

The inquest into the death of Richard Chang, an Abbey National IT analyst who fell from a balcony at the bank's UK headquarters a year ago, begins in London today.

Chang fell to his death from the top-floor of Abbey National's London HQ on July 13th 2004 during an investigation by Kroll Associates into unfounded allegations of corruption in the handling of software contracts in the bank's treasury division.

Scotland Yard began a major incident investigation into the death of Chang, who was one of the Abbey employees interviewed by Kroll over the contents of an anonymous letter sent to bank chief executive Luqman Arnold last year.

The document was apparently compiled by Abbey staff unhappy with the progress of an overhaul of the bank's treasury department by City IT consultancy Buttonwood Tree Group. The letter contained allegations of impropriety regarding contracts awarded to Buttonwood Tree, IT supplier Wall Street Systems.

An internal investigation found the allegations to be groundless, and Luqman called in private corporate investigators Kroll Associates to uncover the authors of the documents.

Chang was one of the first to be called for interview by Kroll investigators. He fell to his death after requesting a break in the interrogation.

Ajay Kumar, solicitor for Chang's parents, says they had concerns about the circumstances leading up to his death and were hoping for either an open verdict or one of unlawful killing.

Kumar says Chang's parents also want to question Kroll's representative at the inquest about the contents of a tape recording of the interview conducted with him and also had issues about a note that was left by Chang before he died.

Richard Miskella, solicitor for Chang's widow, says all indications suggested the couple had been very happy and Chang was due to leave Abbey and begin a new job.

The inquest will take place before a jury in St Pancras coroner's court, London.

Finextra first reported on the Chang case in September 2004: Abbey haunted by Chang death.

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