CARDIFF, Wales – A couple accused of buying cars and a string of properties in the United Kingdom with money stolen from the Bermuda Government – with a friend and financial adviser as their accomplices – have gone on trial in Wales.

Qualified accountant Jeffrey Bevan, 50; his 52-year-old wife, Samantha Bevan, a former headmistress; along with their 42-year-old friend, Joel Ismail; and financial adviser Paul Charity, 52, deny all charges on a 14-count indictment covering the May 2011 to February 2014 period.

It is alleged that the couple laundered the US$2.4 million they stole to finance a wealthy lifestyle. Bevan allegedly began illegally taking taxpayers’ money after moving to the island to start the job as payments manager in the Office of the Accountant General of Bermuda.

He quit his job less than three years later, in May 2013, to move back to Wales – citing his mother’s poor health and the children’s schooling as the reasons for his resignation – after having bought luxury Mercedes cars and a making series of property investments around Britain.

Bevan left the island before an investigation subsequently uncovered 52 bogus payments that were made to he and his wife’s account in Bermuda before being transferred to Britain, including US$89,000 to Chevron International and another for US$71,000 to the Sylvia Richardson Care facility.

“Mr Bevan was dishonestly involved in the fraudulent transfer of nearly two and half million dollars of money belonging to the Bermudan people, which had been covered up by being in the names of other organizations,” prosecutor Tim Evans said when the trial began in the Cardiff Crown Court.

He added that Mr Bevan has claimed, however, that “every cent of the $2.4 million was effectively overtime, over and above his basic and overtime hours, presumably tax free, and paid voluntarily and legitimately by the Bermudan Government.”

The charges against the couple include transferring various sums of money, knowing or suspecting it to represent the proceeds of criminal conduct; and converting criminal property by using the stolen money to pay off the mortgage on their home. Mr Bevan has also denied similar charges in relation to his purchase of vehicles and several properties, in some instances jointly with either Ismail or Charity, or both.

Charity is separately accused of intending to pervert the course of justice by deleting a series of emails with the intention of concealing them from the police.