Photo: Helen H. Richardson / Contributor
Dealing with the corporate credit card is a powerful, fear-inducing thing. I had to buy some sawn timber for a community job once, and it was the most sweaty event of my goddamn life. Now imagine if you had the credit card information for your official employer as a government agency – and used that information to buy fancy chocolates worth several thousand dollars.
This appears to be the case in the UK, where officials from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have opened an internal investigation following a report insider exposed a massive credit card charge from a high-priced chocolatier. The Insider Report found that in a single day, £ 6,248.40 – the equivalent of more than $ 8,500 – was spent on a corporate credit card at Hotel Chocolat. Needless to say, this is an unusual purchase for the ICO, an independent, government-funded agency that regulates information rights including data usage, privacy issues and the Freedom of Information Act in the UK.
Insider announced the transaction on December 21st ICOs corporate fee payments for the tax year 2020 – ’21. It is apparently the largest single transaction made with a corporate ICO credit card in the past 10 months, and sparked what an ICO spokesperson referred to as an “internal investigation”. Jon Baines, chairman of the National Association of Data Protection Officers, told Insider, “At first glance, it looks extraordinary that someone from the ICO made a card payment of £ 6,000 to Hotel Chocolat.” Yes, officially British, it definitely looks extraordinary.
Insider reports that the most expensive chocolate on Hotel Chocolat’s website is a 147-piece collection of chocolates and biscuits called The Signature Cabinet. It costs £ 170, which means the perpetrator could have bought a total of 36 Signature Cabinets. Or did you spend the money on a large selection of individual truffles? I’m not sure which is funnier. In any case, I hope some chocoholics have been happy.