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Post Office launched fraud investigation into board member hired to represent sub-postmasters in wake of Horizon scandal


  • Elliot Jacobs was hired in 2021 to show the Post Office culture had changed
  • Despite this he was investigated for an accounting discrepancy at his shops 

The Post Office launched a fraud investigation into a board member, who was hired to represent sub-postmasters following the Horizon scandal. 

Elliot Jacobs, who was appointed to the board in 2021 to represents sub-postmasters, was part of an attempt by the Post Office to show the culture that allowed the horizon scandal to take place had now changed. 

Despite this Mr Jacobs, who owns eight post offices across North London which still use the Horizon IT system, was investigated by the Post Office’s legal team due to an accounting discrepancy of several thousand pounds.     

The Post Office concluded its investigation into Mr Jacob and found no wrongdoing.

However, the incident angered the Post Office chairman, Henry Staunton, so much so that The Daily Telegraph reports Mr Staunton confrontated with Ben Foat, the company’s group general counsel, about the investigation. 

Post Office chairman Henry Staunton. The investigation into Elliot Jacobs angered Mr Staunton so much that he confronted Ben Foat, the company's group general counsel

Post Office chairman Henry Staunton. The investigation into Elliot Jacobs angered Mr Staunton so much that he confronted Ben Foat, the company’s group general counsel  

The Horizon scandal took place between 1999 and 2015 when the Post Office wrongly prosecuted 700 sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses for incorrect data provided by the computer system (stock image)

The Horizon scandal took place between 1999 and 2015 when the Post Office wrongly prosecuted 700 sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses for incorrect data provided by the computer system (stock image)

The Horizon scandal became much more widely known after Toby Jones, above, appeared in ITV drama Mr Bates Vs The Post Office

The Horizon scandal became much more widely known after Toby Jones, above, appeared in ITV drama Mr Bates Vs The Post Office

This incident allegedly contributed to Mr Staunton’s sacking by Kemi Badenoch.

In emails seen by The Telegraph Mr Jacobs wrote on January 24: ‘The culture that PMs (postmasters) are “guilty” and “on the take” is embedded in this company and whilst we continue to employee 40+ people who ensured innocent people were found guilty and who continue to believe that mantra, this will never change.’

Mr Jacobs says in another email that he raised his treatment with Mr Foat and that he was treated like he was ‘guilty until proven innocent.’ 

Three days after Mr Jacobs sent his email Mr Stuanton was sacked by Kemi Badenoch.

The Horizon scandal took place between 1999 and 2015 when the Post Office wrongly prosecuted 700 sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses for incorrect data provided by the computer system. Shockingly, that works out to one person being prosecuted a week.

While the public inquiry into the scandal has been ongoing since February 2021, it returned to the headlines this year due to a hit ITV dramatisation of the scandal – Mr Bates vs the Post Office.

The drama starred Toby Jones as the titular character Alan Bates, the former postmaster who instigated the court case that led to the ruling that the scandal was a miscarriage of justice.



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