Business

Noel Edmonds accuses Lloyds of 'foot dragging' over HBOS payouts

Noel Edmonds

Noel Edmonds has written to the Lloyds Banking Group chairman accusing the bank of "foot dragging" over compensating HBOS fraud victims.

The Deal or No Deal host wants £50m in damages because he says the "criminal actions" of an HBOS manager brought his business "crashing down".

Mr Edmonds said Lloyds had shown no urgency to "right the grievous wrongs".

Lloyds said it had told "the customer concerned" they were part of a review that is assessing compensation.

Mr Edmonds' letter to Lord Blackwell follows one sent last week to Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio.

Two former HBOS staff have been jailed for their part in a £245m loans scam.

They insisted small business customers used a specific turnaround firm. The HBOS managers were given bribes including cash and prostitutes and were jailed along with four others involved in the scam.

In the letter sent to Lord Blackwell on Monday, Mr Edmonds asked to meet him to explain the "suffering" inflicted on victims of the HBOS fraud.

"May I suggest therefore that you agree to such a meeting in the next few days so that you can then direct the future actions of your bank with a full understanding of the human cost of its wrongdoing," he wrote.

Lloyds has set up a £100m fund to compensate the victims of the fraud.

Mr Edmonds referred to last week's Lloyds annual meeting, at which he said Lord Blackwell "echoed" Mr Horta-Osorio's "personal pledge of prompt reparation".

He quoted Lord Blackwell as saying: "By quickly, I mean within weeks rather than months".

'Humiliation'

However, he said since only one individual had been given the job of assessing "complex and substantial" claims, it was "difficult to see" how Lord Blackwell's assurance that compensation would be paid "within weeks" could be adhered to.

Ten years ago Mr Edmonds' business, The Unique Group, collapsed.

"Not only did this cost me a vast amount financially, but it caused me great public humiliation, frustration and distress," he said in the letter.

"The impact that your employee had on the lives of many others was even more severe, with relationships and livelihoods destroyed and homes lost."

In a statement to the BBC, Lloyds - which did not mention Mr Edmonds by name - said: "We have confirmed to the customer concerned that they have been included in the review, which is being overseen by Professor Russel Griggs as Independent Reviewer.

"The review will assess any compensation due and will provide an opportunity for customers to input directly on any aspects of their interactions with the HBOS Impaired Assets office in Reading. We remain on track to begin making the first compensation offers before the end of May and anticipate making compensation offers by the end of June to all customers who have confirmed their participation in the review."

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