Bank bosses were yesterday accused of a ‘scandalous’ silence after being alerted to the £1billion fraud at HBOS.
Small business owners whose livelihoods were ruined warned four senior executives about the ‘illegal and outrageous’ behaviour, after the bank first uncovered millions of pounds in unapproved loans.
Lloyds said it had assisted police fully, adding: ‘HBOS’s own investigations, undertaken when these issues first came to light in 2007, could only consider information directly held by the bank.’ None of the bosses could be reached for comment.
In 2007 they began rigorous searches of all the small businesses whose funds had been moved into the hands of HBOS’s credit committee – also known as the ‘impaired assets division’ – like their own.
With the help of Mrs Dove and others, the Turners amassed over 100,000 documents as proof of corrupt activities at HBOS.
The strain was such that her marriage broke down and she was forced to sell her home and move into social housing with her children.
Letters were sent to then-HBOS chairman Lord Stevenson; Sir Victor Blank, who oversaw the Lloyds takeover of HBOS; his successor Sir Win Bischoff; and another senior executive, Philip Grant.
But the banks repeatedly refused to accept any wrongdoing had taken place.
‘He picked up the phone and told me he was in a hotel in Birmingham and he’d just got out of the shower. “I’ve just got a towel on.” It was so inappropriate; I didn’t know what to say.’Mrs Turner, 61, and her husband Paul, 66, were among the many victims whose lives were torn apart by the scam instigated by senior bankers at the Halifax Bank of Scotland from 2003 until 2007, shortly before it was rescued by Lloyds and saved by a £20.5billion taxpayer bailout.
On Monday, jurors at Southwark Crown Court convicted Scourfield and his associates – four men and a woman – of defrauding business owners like the Turners out of £245million. Scourfield convinced customers to use a shady consultancy firm, Quayside, led by his associate David Mills, which then took control of their businesses, plundered their accounts and authorised huge loans they could never hope to pay back.
As their business grew over the next few years, they realised they needed to expand – and asked HBOS for a £450,000 loan.