AN ACCOUNTANT fiddled Bermuda’s government out of the equivalent of almost £1.8 million and spent the bulk on properties and luxury cars in the UK, a jury at Cardiff Crown Court was told.

Jeffrey Bevan, 50, of Orchid Court, Ty Canol, Cwmbran, took the money through dozens of illegal transactions over two years from May 2011, while a payment manager for the Department of the Accountant General in Bermuda, said prosecuting counsel Timothy Evans.

Financial irregularities emerged only after he and his family had returned to the UK. He cannot be prosecuted on these shores for crimes allegedly committed in Bermuda, but he and wife Samantha, 52, of the same Cwmbran address, are standing trial on money laundering charges, along with friend Joel Ismail, 42, and financial adviser Paul Charity, 52, both of Leicester.

It is alleged that around £1.3m of the money Jeffrey Bevan came by illegally was transferred to the UK and used to buy properties in Wales and Scotland, two Mercedes cars, and to pay off the mortgage on the Bevans’ home.

Mr Evans told the jury Bevan applied successfully for the Bermuda job late in 2010, moving there with his family early the next year.

His salary was $112,000 Bermudan Dollars (BMD) a year, or around £80,000, and in an exit interview questionnaire in 2013, he described the salary as ‘good’. However, just months into his job he had complained of struggling financially and a bid was made - unsuccessfully - on his behalf for a move to a higher pay grade.

One of Bevan’s tasks in Bermuda was to oversee the introduction of a new computer system for payments, known as E1, with which, said Mr Evans, he was already familiar.

It was only after he quit - citing his mother’s poor health and his children’s education - and moved his family back to south Wales in May 2013 that “enormous alarm bells began to ring” in Bermuda, said Mr Evans, over payment irregularities.

These included a ‘payment’ of more than $71,000BMD to a care facility, and one of $89,000BMD to a company called Chevron International that Bermudan authorities discovered was paid into Bevan’s personal account.

In all, 52 ‘payments’ totalled $2,452,135BMD, around £1.8m, said Mr Evans, with all but three going into Jeffrey Bevan’s personal account in Bermuda. The other three went into Samantha Bevan’s account there.

“The prosecution case against Mr Bevan is that he was dishonestly involved in these fraudulent transactions of almost $2.5m belonging to the Bermudan people,” said Mr Evans.

“It had been covered up by a man claiming to be an expert in the E1 system.”

Mr Evans said Bevan told police the payments were for overtime, and he worked up to 50 hours a week extra on top of his standard 35 hours.

He added that around £400,000 of the overall amount involved appeared to have been spent while the Bevans were in Bermuda.

Samantha Bevan, said Mr Evans, must have realised something strange was going on: “She is an intelligent woman She must have at the very least suspected that it was the proceeds of dishonest criminal conduct.”

Jeffrey Bevan has pleaded not guilty to three counts of transferring criminal property, linked to £1.3m the prosecution say was transferred back to the UK. He also denies 10 counts of converting criminal property, used to buy properties and cars, and to pay off the mortgage.

Samantha Bevan denies two counts of transferring criminal property and one of converting criminal property.

Ismail has denies four charges of converting criminal property. Charity has pleaded not guilty to three counts of converting criminal property, and a charge of intending to pervert the course of justice.