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Loan scam ‘funded holidays & escorts' for Halifax bankers

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Loan scam ‘funded holidays & escorts' for Halifax bankers

Postby admin » 26 Sep 2016, 21:30

A GROUP of bankers and consultants from the Halifax took part in a £245 million loan scam which saw funds splashed on high-end prostitutes and luxury holidays, a court has heard. Up until 2007 Lynden Scourfield, 54, was lead director of impaired assets for Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) in the south of England and South Wales, which provided advice to corporate customers experiencing financial difficulties, jurors at Southwark Crown Court were told.

David Mills, a former banker-turned-venture capitalist, was engaged frequently by Scourfield, who is not on trial, as a “turnaround consultant” to help improve these customers’ businesses. During 2003-2007 a corrupt relationship between Scourfield and Mills, 59, developed which was “at the heart of this case”, Judge Martin Beddoe told the jury.

Scourfield advanced huge sums to the businesses from HBOS, “well past the point when it would have been obvious to any honest banker that the bank debt could and would never be repaid”, prosecutor Brian O’Neill said as he opened the case. This enabled Mills and some of the others to charge high consultancy fees which they profited from, and in some cases run the businesses for their own gain, he alleged.

Mills and his wife Alison Mills, 51; Michael Bancroft, 73; Mark Dobson, 55; Jonathan Cohen, 57; and John Cartwright, 71, appeared in the dock at Southwark Crown Court on Monday. The list of charges includes conspiracy to corrupt, fraudulent trading and conspiracy to conceal criminal property. All wore dark suits, while Mrs Mills wore a black and white patterned dress.

Money and large rewards are alleged to have been given to Scourfield from Mills, which took the form of use of an American Express card, luxurious holidays and sex with high-class escorts, the court heard.

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Re: Loan scam ‘funded holidays & escorts' for Halifax bankers

Postby admin » 28 Sep 2016, 19:55

A senior HBOS banker accused of corruption allegedly received regular bribes in the form of envelopes stuffed with thousands of pounds in cash to pay for prostitutes at a flat in Marylebone, central London, a court has been told.

Lynden Scourfield, who dealt with many of HBOS’s most financially distressed borrower clients, is accused of playing a central role in a multimillion pound corruption plot along with a former venture capitalist David Mills, a jury at Southwark crown court has been told. Between 2003 and 2007, a string of businesses with little or no hope of survival were fed with fresh loans by Scourfield, allegedly so that the money could be channelled – in “consultancy fees” and other charges – to Quayside Corporate Services, a turnaround consultancy controlled by Mills.

Mills, his wife and three other of his business associates – along with a second HBOS banker – are all on trial, charged with various offences relating to the alleged plot. All have denied wrongdoing. Scourfield, meanwhile, is not in the dock. Jurors have been told they “must not speculate about his absence or the reasons for it”.

Prosecuting, Brian O’Neill QC told the court: “As the figure who held the key to continued funding, Scourfield could exercise enormous power over the directors of the companies under his supervision. Many felt they had no choice but to comply with his or Mills’ demands.”

On the second day of his opening remarks, O’Neill painted a detailed picture of how some of the alleged conspirators had used prostitutes at the flat on Portman Square, in Marylebone, London. Rent for the flat, O’Neill told the jury, was paid for by one of the distressed companies linked to Scourfield and Mills, while another struggling business allegedly had paid for prostitutes.

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Re: Loan scam ‘funded holidays & escorts' for Halifax bankers

Postby admin » 30 Sep 2016, 21:33

Corrupt bankers and consultants took part in a loan scam that cost Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) £245m ($318m) and went on to spend the cash they made on prostitutes, luxury holidays and expensive gifts, a court heard.

Six defendants are accused of conspiring to take control of troubled businesses for their own gain, a jury at Southwark Crown Court was told. Two are former HBOS employees, one is an employee's wife, two more worked for a turnaround consultancy with which HBOS placed a disproportionate amount of business, the prosecution claims, and the sixth is an accountant.

David Mills, and his wife Alison Mills, Michael Bancroft, Mark Dobson, Jonathan Cohen and Tony Cartwright, are in the dock in the south London court. The list of charges, which all six deny, includes conspiracy to corrupt, fraudulent trading and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.

The court was told that the six were involved in a racket led by another man, Lynden Scourfield, a former senior manager in the impaired assets division for HBOS, who is not on trial. Scourfield is said to have encouraged struggling business customers within his banking portfolio to use the services of David Mills, a business consultant, and his company QCS, to act as a turnround adviser so the companies could obtain further bank lending. Huge sums were then advanced to the businesses by Scourfield even when it was "obvious" that the bank debt could never be repaid, said prosecutor Brian O'Neill QC.

A man employed by David Mills was asked several times to deliver an envelope containing thousands of pounds in cash to a rented flat, the court heard. It was allegedly said to be "funny money" for Scourfield to pay for girls.

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Re: Loan scam ‘funded holidays & escorts' for Halifax bankers

Postby admin » 02 Feb 2017, 18:58

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. He said: "You have shown not one shred of remorse. I don't know how Mr Mills got a hold of you. He is the devil to who you sold your soul in exchange for sex, for luxury trips with or without your wife, for bling and for swag." He went on to tell Mills: "You are a thoroughly corrupt and devious man."

The others jailed were Michael Bancroft, 73, for 10 years, Mark Dobson, 56, for four-and-a-half years, John Cartwright, 72, for three-and-a-half years and Mills' wife Alison, 51, for three-and-a-half years.

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Re: Loan scam ‘funded holidays & escorts' for Halifax bankers

Postby admin » 09 Apr 2017, 13:59

The victims of criminal HBOS bankers who wrecked small businesses for a profit are set to share £100million in compensation. Rogue financier Lynden Scourfield was supposed to be in charge of saving struggling companies at the lender's turnaround unit in Reading. But he and cronies instead broke up successful firms to strip their assets, spending the proceeds on sex parties with prostitutes, luxury holidays, watches and a £2million yacht called Powder Monkey.

The 54-year-old and his associates are all in prison – but the entrepreneurs whose livelihoods they destroyed are still waiting to get their money back.

Lloyds, which bought HBOS as it teetered on the edge of collapse in the depths of the financial crisis, has launched a review and set aside £100million to make things right.

Boss Antonio Horta-Osorio said: 'We are absolutely determined that victims of the crimes committed at HBOS Reading are fairly, swiftly and appropriately compensated. We take responsibility for putting right the wrongs that were committed at HBOS Reading at the time.'

Scourfield forced firms which needed to borrow cash to use his friend David Mills's crooked consultancy business. They used threats and extortion to seize control of businesses, plundering their bank accounts and pocketing massive new loans granted in their name. The proceeds were blown on living the high life. Scourfield celebrated with luxury holidays, trips on Mills's superyacht and sex with porn star-turned £250-an-hour escort Suzie Best. Meanwhile, scores of middle-class entrepreneurs lost their companies, homes, pensions and even marriages.

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