Lloyds extends deadline for fraud victims
Lloyds Banking Group is expected to extend the deadline for making compensation offers to victims of the HBOS Reading fraud, as it emerged that only one of 64 affected customers has received compensation.
Lloyds had pledged to make offers to all of them by the end of June. The compensation is to come from £100m the bank has set aside for the victims. Six people were jailed in February for the fraud, which took place between 2003 and 2007 before Lloyds bought HBOS, and the bank appointed Prof Russel Griggs as an independent reviewer.
Lloyds would not say how many compensation offers have been made, but it is thought that just one of the 64 – a group that includes the TV celebrity Noel Edmonds – has agreed to the terms and received payment. Some of the victims lost their companies, livelihoods and even their homes as a result of the loans scam.
Edmonds, who is seeking £73m for what he claims is the destruction of his business empire Unique, has accused the bank of “foot dragging” over compensation payouts to victims. His lawyers described the process for claiming compensation as a “charade designed to cause delay and wear down my client”.
Jonathan Coad at Keystone Law has received correspondence showing Griggs has hired a “team of professional advisers” to assist him, thought to be the accountancy firms RSM, and Mercer & Hole.
Griggs, a former chair of the small business council at the CBI, said: “The review is making good progress, and I am pleased with how many customers are coming forward and speaking to us productively.
“We have already made some offers to customers and have started to receive acceptances. We do recognise, however, that some customers may need longer to provide their input and we will give them the time they need.”
Coad argued that victims of the fraud were dependent on Lloyds’ assessment of the level of compensation. The system was “designed to cheat HBOS fraud victims from their legitimate entitlement by way of compensation,” he said.
Lloyds said: “Part of [Griggs’] role is to agree the individual case outcomes, and to ensure that these outcomes are fair. He will make his decisions independently.”