A FORMER council employee has been charged with embezzling more than £1 million from his employer and local council, according to reports.

Michael Paterson has been accused of embezzling the seven-figure sum from Aberdeen City Council while he worked in the revenue and benefits department.

The 59-year-old appeared in a closed session at Aberdeen Sheriff Court facing the single charge of embezzlement, according to the Press and Journal.

Reports also suggest the crime took place over a number of years. It is not specified when or how such a large sum may have been swindled.

Paterson, from Aberdeen, made no plea during the private hearing.

The case against him is understood to have been committed for further examination. He was released on bail in the meantime.

READ MORE: FMQs: Douglas Ross roasted for claim Scottish tax change will hurt NHS

A routine audit of Aberdeen City Council is due to be published next year.

The convener of the council's audit, risk and scrutiny committee, councillor M Tauqeer Malik, said: “I first became aware four weeks ago when officers advised me of a situation that may result in criminal proceedings.

“I can confirm that other than that I have no further information.

“Once the matter has been disposed of by the court I, as audit, risk and scrutiny convener, will ask officers for a report to investigate the circumstances of what has happened.”

The National: Aberdeen City Council have voted to leave COSLA

Chief finance officer Jonathan Belford briefed councillors about the case hours after Paterson’s court appearance.

Belford reminded them that the matter must be kept confidential.

Audit Scotland has monitored the council’s own probe and any action taken since the discovery.

A spokesperson for the spending watchdog said: “We are fully aware of the circumstances around this and the investigation and action already taken by the council."

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said they could not comment or provide any details on the case.