Former HBOS bankers convicted of bribery and fraud over £245m loan scam

Consultants arranged sex parties and supplied lavish gifts including exotic holidays for former banker who supplied unnecessary loans to struggling businesses

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The Independent Online

Two former HBOS bankers were among six people found guilty of bribery and fraud that cost customers and shareholders hundreds of millions of pounds, the BBC reports.

Lynden Scourfield, 54, a manager at HBOS, forced struggling clients to use the services of his friends David Mills, 60, and Michael Bancroft, 73. In return, the two businessmen arranged sex parties, cash and lavish gifts.

On Monday, the three were convicted at Southwark Crown Court on accounts including bribery, fraud and money laundering. Mark Dobson, another manager at HBOS, Alison Mills, and John Cartwright were also convicted.

Mr Bancroft and Mr Mills claimed to be turnaround consultants who would assist struggling businesses, but instead they bullied them, squeezed them for large fees and stripped them of assets, according to the BBC.

Prosecutors said Mills collected £28m in cash through various accounts, but in total the scam involved £245m of fraudulent loans.

"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' money dishonestly to enrich themselves," prosecutor Brian O'Neill QC told the court.

After being appointed as turnaround consultants Mr Mills and Mr Bancroft would push the companies to borrow far more money than they needed - money that the pair would then syphon off.

For viable businesses, the two men would use their relationship with Mr Scourfield to threaten that their lending might be stopped.

"Scourfield paid absolutely no regard to his overriding duty as an employee of the bank to protect its financial interests. Neither was Scourfield, nor Mills nor Bancroft, troubled by the proper interests of the directors, shareholders and creditors of the various companies," Mr O'Neill said.

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