Two former HBOS bankers and four other people have been found guilty of bribery and fraud which is believed to have cost the bank, shareholders, and customers millions.
Former HBOS manager Synden Scourfield pleased guilty of six counts of corruption. Five others, including turnaround consultants were also convicted.
It has transpired that in exchange for bribes, Scourfield told customers to use the turnaround firm.
They were tried and convicted at Southwark Crown Court for bribery, fraud, and money laundering. The defendants included another former manager of HBOS, Mark Dobson, Micahel Bancroft, David Mills, Alison Mills, and John Cartwright.
Jonathan Cohen was acquitted.
Sex Parties in Exchange for Business
The court heard how Bancroft and Mills arranged exotic foreign holidays, cash, and sex parties for Scourfield between 2003 to 2007.
In exchange, Scourfield would require the bank’s small business customers to use Quayside Corporate Services which was run by Mills and his wife Alison. The firm advertised that they could help small business customers grow their business and improve revenue.
The reality was that they were milking the small business charging them high fees and using the bank as leverage to strip the businesses of assets.
Under the scheme Mills and Bancroft would deliberately put forward inflated cash flow and other figures.
HBOS under the direction of Scourfield would lend businesses much more money than they needed. Quayside would then issue loans that could never be repaid, or high fees to claim the extra money. If a business had particularly good prospects they would use the bank as leverage to become a shareholder or get a seat on the board, eventually taking over the business.
Brian O’Neill QC, prosecuting, said, “What Scourfield gave Mills in addition to fees was the opportunity to take control of the various businesses and, in some cases, to acquire ownership of them. Mills and his associates used the bank’s customers and the banks’s money dishonestly to enrich themselves.”