As we reach the 10-year anniversary of the global financial crisis, the media has fixated on the lessons that may, or may not, have been learnt by the financial industry in years since the crisis. For many small businesses, however, and for many of the constituents who make representations to the APPG on Fair Business Banking, there can be no lessons learnt if the financial fraud that has been alleged in the intervening years is not thoroughly investigated.
The APPG on Fair Business Banking has made official contact with Police Scotland to urge them to further investigate the HBOS fraud; a criminal fraud that the APPG believes extends to a higher level than those that have already been convicted, and which was centred in Edinburgh.
The Turnbull Report, that was made public earlier this year, clearly demonstrates that the boards of both HBOS and then Lloyds Banking Group in Edinburgh knew about the HBOS Reading fraud from an early stage. If dealt with appropriately at the time, years of suffering for hundreds of individuals could have been prevented. Instead, both institutions concealed the fraud and went after the victims for their remaining assets.
The Co-Chair of the APPG, Kevin Hollinrake MP, said: “They not only failed to act on the evidence of serious criminal fraud but fired the whistleblower that had revealed the extent of the criminal activities. In an act of calculated naivety, they believed that the fraud will simply go away. Quite honestly, it would have gone away, had it not been for the extraordinary efforts of dedicated individuals who had been the victims of a severe injustice and wished to hold those responsible to account”.
The APPG calls on Police Scotland to investigate the HBOS Reading fraud with a much wider scope to consider exactly how deep the fraud went within HBOS and to ensure that those who are personally accountable for the serious allegations of financial fraud are held accountable.