A BANK clerk standing trial with two other men over an alleged £2m fraud had claimed he was in fear of the Russian mafia.

The trial of Tai Hulbert-Thomas, 27, from Oxford, Mawli Thurairajah, 30, and Neil Bautista, 22, continued at the Old Bailey in London yesterday.

The trio are accused of being part of an alleged conspiracy that saw £2,036,500 stolen from branches of the Halifax bank in Berkshire and North London.

It is alleged that an electronic device was placed on to a colleague’s computer to steal private log-on details, which were then used to make the fraudulent transfers.

He claims to have been threatened by the “Russian mafia” and said he only cooperated with the alleged fraud because he “didn’t want to put himself at risk”, the jury has been told.

Hulbert-Thomas, of Carlton Road in Sunnymead, denies a charge of conspiracy to defraud Lloyds Banking Group, the parent company of the Halifax, by causing fraudulent payments in the total sum of £627,500 to be made to various bank accounts in September 2012.

He also denies two charges of fraud by abuse of position by fixing a device to a computer within the bank in order to harvest the secure computer log-on details of bank employees and passing the same information to another to person in order to facilitate fraudulent bank transfers.

Bautista, of Northumberland Road in Maidenhead, Berkshire, is accused of making fraudulent payments to a total of £605,000 and of allowing another person to install the device on to the bank’s computer.

The device, which was linked to the Internet, is alleged to have been attached to work stations at three Halifax branches, in Newbury, Slough and Camden, in London.

Thurairajah, of Moelyn Mews, in Harlow, in Essex, denies a single charge of making fraudulent payments totalling £804,000.