Lloyds under fire over HBOS fraud compensation

Lloyds bank headquartersImage copyright Getty Images Image caption Lloyds Banking Group has expressed its deep regret over the fraud

Lloyds Banking Group has said it is close to offering compensation to 30 customers caught up in a criminal conspiracy involving former bankers at its HBOS subsidiary.

The bank has already missed its own deadline of 30 June for paying redress to all victims.So far, only five have accepted compensation offers.

MPs and victims have criticised the compensation scheme.

The fraud saw small businesses pressed into hiring "turnaround consultants".

Two corrupt HBOS bankers pressured the customers into using consultants Quayside Corporate Services, led by David Mills.

He and his accomplices bribed the bankers with cash, gifts and prostitutes, then used their relationship with the bank to bully the business owners into handing over exorbitant fees and, eventually, control of their companies.

The business customers, in the words of a judge, were left "cheated, defeated and penniless".

'Progress'

After bad publicity following the fraudsters' convictions in February, Lloyds chairman Lord Blackwell to compensate victims of the fraud "within weeks, not months".

On Friday, the bank published an update on its compensation, saying it was "close to" making 30 offers.

Adrian White, chief operating officer for commercial banking and the man leading the review, said:"We are now continuing to make progress in getting offers to victims of the HBOS Reading fraud.We have now either made offers or are in the detailed assessment stage for nearly half the victims in the review.It is important we get the fullest possible information from victims to ensure we can factor in everything that could contribute to their compensation offer."

But so far only 16 compensation offers have been made - and many more were caught up in the fraud.

The banker at the heart of the fraud, Lynden Scourfield, was in charge of supervising accounts for more than 250 small business customers.

Unsettled

Victims of the fraud have criticised the bank for seeking to dictate the terms of its compensation scheme rather than seek their approval.

They were not asked to agree the bank's appointment of Professor Russel Griggs to review its compensation offers.

They have also been unsettled after a senior Lloyds executive claimed the bank had no evidence of criminality until the fraudsters' trial began in 2016.

The small business customers who uncovered the fraud, Paul and Nikki Turner, sent detailed allegations of fraud to the board of HBOS in 2007, attaching documentary evidence later used in the 2016 trial.

Image copyright PA Image caption Zenith, the publishing firm run by Paul and Nikki Turner, was run into the ground

They sent further evidence to every member of Lloyds' board in 2009.At the time Lloyds dismissed their evidence and instead spent large sums on lawyers seeking to evict the Turners.

Concern

It has also emerged that Lloyds conducted internal reviews into the conduct of Mr Scourfield and others as far back as 2006.

In April, Lloyds Banking Group appointed Dame Linda Dobbs, a former high court judge, to review the bank's handling of the fraud, which took place from 2002-2007, in the years before the trial in 2016.

During this time the bank consistently refused to say anything in public or acknowledge criminality.However, victims of the fraud have not yet been contacted in relation to the review.

MPs say they're concerned the bank's compensation scheme lacks transparency and independence.The bank will not show victims who is deciding their compensation offer, or reveal how it is worked out.

'Suspicion'

Lord Cromwell, chair of the all party parliamentary group on fair business banking, said:"There appears to be a lack of transparency, and therefore a lack of public confidence, in the processes set up unilaterally by Lloyds for assessment and settlement of claims.

"Inevitably this creates suspicion and we are hoping that Lloyds will now accept our repeated invitations to make the processes - including the nuts and bolts of valuing claims - far more open to assessment by victims and their advisers.Without that it is hard to see how this matter can end other than in bitterness and litigation."

Shadow business minister, Bill Esterson, said:"The victims of the HBOS Reading Fraud deserve to be treated in a fair and transparent manner.It is clear from the concerns that have been raised with me that this is not happening, and the Bank must be held to account.

"Any process of compensation must be transparent and beyond reproach, yet the details of the scheme as described to me provide no comfort that this is the case.

"Businesses in the UK deserve to have confidence that we are doing everything we can to support them when things go wrong, and it appears to me that there is a massive systemic failure when Banks are allowed to be their own judge, jury and executioner behind closed doors.This must change."...

Read more

Congo's mining revenue 'missing' - Global Witness

A file picture taken on May 28, 2013 shows people carrying bags of cassiterite (tin ore), coltan, which is used in mobile telephones and computers, and manganese down a hill from the Mudere mine, near RubayaImage copyright AFP Image caption These people are mining coltan, which is widely used in mobile phones

More than 20% of the Democratic Republic of Congo's mining revenue is being lost due to corruption and mismanagement, a campaign group says.

According to a Global Witness[1] report, the money is being distributed through corrupt networks linked to President Joseph Kabila.

At least $750m (£580m) has gone missing over the past three years, it says.

The government has not commented but has previously denied allegations of corruption in its mining sector.

Africa Live:More on this and other stories[2]

DR Congo - Too rich for its own good[3]

More about DR Congo[4]

DR Congo is Africa's biggest producer of copper and the world's largest supplier of cobalt used in batteries for electric cars.

It is also rich in gold, diamonds and coltan, used in mobile phones, but its people remain among the poorest in the world following years of conflict and mismanagement.

"Congo's mining revenues should be helping to lift its people out of poverty," says Pete Jones, a Global Witness senior campaigner.

According to the report, much of DR Congo's mining revenue goes missing after being paid to the state-owned mining company, Gécamines.

The head of Gécamines, a close ally of President Kabila, has denied allegations of corruption and insisted the company is transparent....

References

  1. ^ Global Witness (www.globalwitness.org)
  2. ^ Africa Live:More on this and other stories (www.bbc.co.uk)
  3. ^ DR Congo - Too rich for its own good (www.bbc.co.uk)
  4. ^ More about DR Congo (www.bbc.co.uk)

Read more

Audi offers diesel emissions upgrade for 850,000 cars

Audi logoImage copyright Reuters

German carmaker Audi is offering a free software upgrade for 850,000 diesel cars in order to improve emissions.

Audi said the upgrade would "improve emissions behaviour in real driving conditions further beyond existing legal requirements".

The carmaker added it was convinced the programme would counteract possible bans on diesel cars.

In recent days, rival German carmakers Mercedes and Daimler issued recalls involving three million vehicles.

The Audi recall affects cars fitted with six- and eight-cylinder diesel motors meeting the Euro 5 and Euro 6 emissions criteria, including some models made by parent company Volkswagen and sister firm Porsche.

The upgrade is available for Audi cars with affected engines in Europe and other markets outside North America.

The Reuters news agency reported that German car industry officials and politicians had agreed to improve diesel vehicles' emissions through software updates in order to avoid diesel bans in cities.

Arndt Ellinghorst, an analyst at investment bank Evercore ISI, said there could be many more of these fixes to come:"What Audi and Mercedes have announced is just the tip of the iceberg.All other carmakers will follow and offer improvements to the engine management software.

"If this isn't an industry-wide action, city driving bans might be the painful alternative."...

Read more

Siemens to exit Russian power joint venture

Siemens turbine manufacturingImage copyright Getty Images

Siemens will withdraw from a Russian joint venture after discovering that four of its gas turbines were illegally shipped to Crimea.

The German industrial giant will also halt deliveries of power generation equipment to Russian state-controlled customers for the "time being".

Siemens said it had received "credible information" that its turbines had been diverted from the original destination.

It said this breaches EU sanctions against Russia.

The four gas turbines in question had been delivered for a project in Taman, southern Russia in 2016.

However, Siemens said the equipment had since been locally modified and shifted to Crimea which it said breached EU sanctions Russia introduced in 2014 following over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Siemens will exit the Interautimatika joint venture, in which holds a 46% stake, with the rest owned by Russian state-owned businesses TPE and Rostec.

The German company said it would continue to pursue criminal charges "against the responsible individuals" at TPE.

The Reuters news agency reported on Friday that the Kremlin had declined to comment, saying it was a matter for Siemens and its Russian partners.

However, the affair threatens to strain relations between Germany and Russia.Last week, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the the delivery to Crimea was "remarkable and completely unacceptable".

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted Russia President Vladimir Putin at the recent G20 gathering in Hamburg

Germany's ambassador to Russia, Rudiger von Fritsch, said:"There are all grounds to believe that if what has happened is true, Siemens was seriously deceived, and it was a violation of a contract, a serious blow to trust and a very serious blow to investments in Russia."

On Friday, Siemens announced that it had also terminated a licence granted to a Russian company to manufacture equipment for power plants.It said it was "reviewing all potential collaboration between its subsidiaries and other entities around the world with regard to deliveries to Russia".

Siemens added that new gas power projects in Russia would only be carried out through companies it controls, ensuring "Siemens-controlled delivery and installation" overseen by its own personnel....

Read more

Paysafe shares jump on bid approach

Market trader (file picture)Image copyright Getty Images

Shares in UK payments company Paysafe jumped 9% after it received a £2.9bn takeover approach from a group of private equity firms.

Paysafe said a consortium containing Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners had made a 590p-a-share offer.

The approach comes amid a wave of takeover activity within the payment processing sector.

Earlier this month, Worldpay agreed to be bought by US payment processing giant Vantiv in a deal worth £9.1bn.

Danish payment services firm Nets A/S has also been approached by possible buyers.

Paysafe was the biggest riser in the FTSE 250 index, while the benchmark FTSE 100[1] was up 9.23 points at 7,497.10 in early trade.

Vodafone shares rose 1.6% after its latest trading update.The mobile phone network said organic service revenues grew by 2.2% in the three months to 30 June, beating expectations.

Shares in bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair fell 2.5% after Investec cut its rating on the company to "sell".

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.1% against the dollar to $1.2989 and edged up slightly against the euro to 1.1157 euros....

References

  1. ^ FTSE 100 (www.bbc.co.uk)

Read more

NewsLine is a full functional magazine news for Entertainment, Sports, Food website. Here you can get the latest news from the whole world quickly.

Popular Item

Recent News