No house party as Noel Edmonds tells Bank of Scotland owner ‘Jail Or No Jail’ over fraud

TV presenter Noel Edmonds launched an attack on Bank of Scotland owner Lloyds for its handling of past fraud but was told by one bank chief "this isn't a show".

The former Deal Or No Deal presenter purchased a share at 67p which allowed him to gatecrash the Lloyds' annual general meeting in Edinburgh to lambast executives.

Mr Edmonds, who claims he was offered £3.6 million by Lloyds "because I was upset" is seeking compensation from the bank for his losses after allegedly falling victim to fraud by former staff at HBOS Reading, which Lloyds rescued during the financial crisis.

Investors raised concerns about the fallout from one of Britain’s worst banking frauds at the Reading branch, an independent review into which has slipped into 2019.

HeraldScotland: 'INSENSITIVE': Noel Edmonds presenting his show Deal Or No Deal.

Five staff from the HBOS branch were jailed last year for a £245m loans scam between 2003 and 2007 which destroyed several businesses and the bank is still being investigated by Britain’s National Crime Agency.

It was revealed they squandered the profits on high-end prostitutes and luxury holidays.

Shareholders grilling Lloyds about the case included Mr Edmonds, who said the bank had reneged on promises to pay consequential losses to affected customers over and above any compensation due.

Edmonds has been a vocal critic of Lloyds ever since the collapse of his company, Unique Group, which he alleged was “groomed, pillaged and destroyed” by the bank, leading to scores of job losses.

Lloyds disputes his claim that the fraud caused his business to collapse.

During the AGM in Edinburgh, he told executives: "If you want to turn it into 'Jail Or No Jail' you are going in the right direction."

It came as Lloyds shareholders vented their anger over issues including the mistreatment of small businesses and the rates it charges “vulnerable” mortgage borrowers.

HeraldScotland:

Thirteen minutes into Mr Edmonds' 19 minute attack, Lloyds’ chairman Norman Blackwell said: "This isn't a show Mr Edmonds, this is an AGM and I'd like you to come to your question, please."

To which the former radio DJ said: "If you want to turn it into a game show, the way you treat us, I would call it 'Pointless'.

"These things are very serious. I keep asking questions and you keep ducking them."

Lord Blackwell later said: "You've set out one version of events on what you believe happened. We have a different version of events, we do not agree. We haven't been able to reach settlement and we are not persuaded of the allegations you make, Mr Edmonds.

"I'm very happy for the court to look at the evidence. And I am very happy to let the judge decide on the basis of that evidence what the right outcome is, and I hope you are too. And I hope on that basis we can leave it there."

Mr Edmonds began his criticism by saying: "I am Noel Edmonds. I am a Lloyds shareholder. And you will know from the registration process that I have also been asked by a number of other shareholders to put questions on their behalf.

"Your bank destroyed my business Unique Group. Over 100 people lost jobs. Lives were destroyed.

HeraldScotland:

"We were groomed, we were pillaged and we were destroyed. I lost millions of pounds."

He added: “Your brand values are trashed, the black horse has become a symbol of the dark forces in banking. You boasted about a landmark year, some might say it’s been more like a skidmark year.”

At one point he told Lord Blackwell: "Norman, old boy, even the Kray twins and Al Capone did not have this amount of investigation."

Later he rasped: "I think you just really believe that everybody outside of Lloyds bank is as thick of the stuff that comes out of your black horse."

Lloyds, which returned to private ownership last year after the government finished selling the stake it took up following a 2008 bailout, has apologised to the victims of the HBOS Reading fraud and set aside £100 million for compensation.

He was among 20.78 per cent of shareholders who voted against pay plans for the bank's top bosses.

Mr Edmonds was one of the 20,78 percent of Lloyds shareholders who voted against the bank's remuneration report in a provisional ballot at the AGM.

 

 
 

Noel Edmonds at Lloyds AGM Source: Lloyds Victims
Noel Edmonds at Lloyds AGM Source: Lloyds Victims

 

 

 

 

 

The bank's boss Antonio Horta-Osorio took home £6.42m in 2017, up 10.9% from £5.79m in 2016.

Before the meeting, advisory group Institutional Shareholders Services (ISS) had recommended a vote against the report, highlighting discrepancies between "pay and relative performance".

Mr Edmonds has secured funding to sue Lloyds for up to £60m over the 'fraud'.



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