The couple who spent 10 years investigating a multi-million pound fraud at HBOS have settled their claim for compensation with Lloyds Banking Group, which took over the bank at the height of the financial crisis.
Lloyds apologised for the “significant personal distress” faced by Paul and Nikki Turner, the small business owners who raised the alarm about the fraud inside the Reading branch of HBOS, and for which six individuals were jailed earlier this year.
Among the six jailed were former HBOS manager Lynden Scourfield, who pleaded guilty to the fraud which involved introducing his small business clients to consultant David Mills whose consultancy Quayside Corporate Services profited from high consultancy fees.
Sentencing Mills, the judge told him he sold his “soul, for sex, for luxury trips with and without your wife – for bling and for swag”. He was described by Judge Beddoe as an “utterly corrupt bank manager”.
The Turners have previously said they took a £160,000 loan for their publishing company Zenith from HBOS Reading in 2003 and were introduced to QCS the following year when Scourfield started managing their account. They were required to pay fees – which they said eventually amounted to thousands of pounds – to QCS on a monthly basis.
In a joint statement announcing the settlement – the size of which was not disclosed – the bank acknowledged the “vital role, over more than a decade” by the pair and their efforts in “campaigning tirelessly for justice for all the victims of the criminal conduct at HBOS Reading”.
The statement said the bank and the Turners were “pleased that the dispute between them has been fully resolved and a settlement has been reached”.
Nikki and Paul Turner said they were “relieved and delighted” that they had agreed a settlement with the bank. “Lloyds has recognised not only our role in campaigning for the victims of the HBOS Reading scandal but also that we will be continuing our work on behalf of other victims in order to help them secure a similar element of closure,” they said.
The fraudulent activities at HBOS Reading took place between 2003 and 2007 and Lloyds has set aside £100m to compensate businesses affected. The claims are being assessed by Professor Russel Griggs, but about a dozen of the 63 business that are part of his review are yet to provide him with information about their cases.
Lloyds has now offered £29m to 42 businesses, some 80% of have accepted the deal. The Turners – along with two others businesses, including the one owned by TV personality Noel Edmonds, are not part of the formal review.
The bank had originally pledged to make offers by the end of June to all businesses affected.