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Banking News & UK Comment 2017

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RBS accused of fraud and forgery by customers and ex-employee - Former business clients of the Royal Bank of Scotland are accusing the bank of systematically manipulating documents to cover up wrong doing. In an exclusive interview with the BBC, a former RBS employee has come forward to support allegations of document manipulation within the bank. RBS says it categorically denies document manipulation and forgery. Mark Wright started working for NatWest Bank in 1988 and was still there in 2000 when it was taken over by RBS. In 2005, Mr Wright accused two former RBS colleagues of concocting bogus complaints purportedly from five of his customers. He says the employees were from the bank's Group Compliance Unit established to deter misconduct and malpractice in RBS. He referred to the unit as the bank's "police". Mr Wright's five customers later submitted statements contradicting the bogus complaints. The two accused compliance staff subsequently left the bank. Mark Wright lives in the constituency of North Norfolk represented by former government minister, Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb. Mr Lamb said he has written to RBS five times to demand a meeting about Mr Wright's allegations. He said: "My fear is that it appears to be more than a few rotten apples behaving badly. There appears to be an institutional culture here that facilitated this corrupt practice. That's the allegation." - BBC Business 15th February 2017

Eddy Weatherill stated that: “Unfortunately, all UK banks have been guilty of systematic ʻcover upsʼ for the last three decades and over a very large number of issues - of which the regulators must be aware. The ʻcover upsʼ include ʻmanipulation of documentsʼ as ʻwhistle blowersʼ have claimed, which can mean copying signatures, altering contract details, deleting or altering internal notes, altering content from telephone conversations and destroying original documents. That short list is not exhaustive, there are many others. That is the nature of the banking ʻbeastʼ and that conduct has been ʻallowedʼ to take place for too many years because the FOS, regulators and also the courts have continued to accept bankʼs concealing documents and refusing disclosure of important information as a normality. Concealement remains an ʻissueʼ today in much of what banks do and regulators must be aware that they are just not doing enough to ʻclamp down on such unfair and dishonest corrupt methods and bank strategies, which then allow banks to ʻprotect themselvesʼ inside and outside of litigation - conduct which most ordinary people would consider as being well outside UK laws.”

A group of financiers have been jailed for their part in a £245m scam after being convicted of bribery and corruption. - The six, including a senior banker, have been sentenced to a total of 47 years and 9 months in prison. Between 2003 and 2007, finance consultant David Mills, 59, used designer watches, exotic holidays and sex parties to bribe HBOS manager Lynden Scourfield, 54, to approve inappropriate loans for struggling businesses. Mills, who was sentenced to 15 years in jail, and his colleagues were then able to charge the business owners significant consultancy fees. Many of the firms went bankrupt as a result of the loans and some of the owners lost their homes. Scourfield had been in charge of helping business customers who were facing financial difficulties during his time at HBOS, but resigned from the bank in 2007. He was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months in prison for his offences. Judge Martin Beddoe told Scourfield he had sold his soul to the devil. - Sky News 2nd February 2017

Former HBOS manager found guilty of corruption and fraud - Six people, including two former HBOS bankers, have been found guilty of bribery and fraud that cost the bank's business customers and shareholders hundreds of millions of pounds. Lynden Scourfield, a former manager with HBOS, pleaded guilty to six counts including corruption. Five other defendants, including so-called turnaround consultants, were also convicted. In exchange for bribes, Scourfield told customers to use the turnaround firm. Prosecutor Brian O'Neill QC said: "Many individuals suffered great financial loss and considerable personal trauma as a result of their callous disregard for the businesses they had established, owned or managed." A decade on, HBOS's owner Lloyds Banking Group still has not acknowledged the full scale of the fraud - or offered to compensate its victims. - 30th January 2017 - BBC Business News

Eddy Weatherill says: "The news stories above illustrate the very real and newer threats to bank customers in the coming years and also the laxity of any worthwhile banking controls in the period from 2007 onwards - see my comments made on 20th November 2015. The issue now for those HBOS businesses who were destroyed by the frauds perpetrated on them by HBOS managers, is - can they gain financial restitution for the now proven criminal activities at HBOS from the Directors at HBOS prior to the Lloyds takeover or from Lloyds?

Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) - launched in 1992 as a specialist unincorporated business banking membership organization assisting bank customers with UK business banking account loan disputes and business banking debt disputes with their bank. Our analysis and investigation of business bank loans, bank accounts, banking contracts, business banking account facilities and banking debt recovery information has been instrumental in our member's success as evidenced in IBAS testimonials.

IBAS is the only UK non profit organization providing business bank customers with specialist business banking assistance, specialist business banking guidance and individual case investigations. IBAS business banking dispute negotiating experience has a proven strategy which provides claims and defences for business bank customers. IBAS has excellent banking investigation reputation and has featured on BBC TV, BBC TV News, ITV, Meridian and Sky News and contributed to editorials and articles for the Sunday Times, Times, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Mirror as evidenced in IBAS UK Banking News and Comment Archive.