Lloyds plans to install former HBOS executive Simon Amess to lead new fraud probe…at HBOS
Lloyds will come under further pressure this week over its handling of the HBOS Reading affair, one of the most notorious frauds to hit the bank.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal the credit giant plans to install a former HBOS banker to lead its involvement in an ‘independent review’ of the scandal at the Reading branch. The “re-examination” is the latest in a series of lengthy investigations into the case.
According to an internal memo seen by this newspaper, Simon Amess will oversee the banking side of the review of the plight of HBOS customers who have been drained of tens of millions of pounds and driven to financial ruin.
‘Independent review’: According to an internal memo, Simon Amess will oversee the banking side of the review of the fate of HBOS clients driven to financial ruin
It is understood that Amess will not be involved in the assessment of claims. But its inclusion risks angering the many victims who are still waiting for compensation long after the debacle.
Amess worked at Bank of Scotland before its merger with Halifax in 2001, and worked in the acquisition finance and structured credit divisions of the merged banks just before the collapse of HBOS in 2008.
HBOS had made billions of pounds in risky loans in its commercial lending division and had to be rescued by Lloyds at huge cost to the taxpayer. Amess had no direct connection to HBOS Reading or small business banking.
He has been moved from a position in Lloyds’ trading division by new chief executive Charlie Nunn, who is expected to reveal his strategy for the bank this week when it releases its annual results.
Commercial banking chief David Oldfield said Amess would “take the lead in the independent review of customers affected by the HBOS Reading fraud”.
Hundreds of clients were left in financial ruin from a scam involving HBOS Reading staff and consultants between 2003 and 2007, when they used threats and extortion to rob clients, take control of their businesses and pocket loans made in their name.
Six people, including Michael Bancroft, David Mills and Lynden Scourfield, were jailed in 2017 after being found guilty of looting £1billion to fund superyachts, sex parties and lavish holidays.
It is understood that Amess will lead the bank’s efforts to provide redress to customers, working with an independent panel chaired by retired High Court judge Sir David Foskett.
Kash Shabir, whose business has been placed in receivership by Lloyds, said: ‘The whole process is cynical and entirely confrontational.
Nunn is expected to detail a plan to drive the bank’s growth in real estate, wealth, insurance and commercial banking.