There is a toxic nexus between wealth and power that has prevented the elite from being held to account for what went on at HBOS. This report should have been done straight after the financial crisis; I called for an independent inquiry at the time. Ken Clarke thought it was a good idea, but did nothing about it. I’m not surprised; a good deal of money flows from bankers into Conservative coffers.
But this is a good report. For a start they’ve finally got a sensible estimate of the losses between 2008 and 2011 – £52.6bn. Of this, £44bn was credit and the rest was losses made on securities, equity holdings and the like. In my view, HBOS was in effect insolvent when it ran the rights issue in 2008.
On the subject of disciplinary action, it is not just 10 directors who should be referred. It is all prior directors involved and senior managers.
I call on former HBOS directors to write an apology in a national newspaper and to waive their rights to avoid fines. If they don’t do that, I will call for a change in the law.
I also want to see personal written apologies from senior regulators for their failings. And [former HBOS finance director] Mike Ellis must have his approved status to act as the chairman of Skipton building society removed. Finally, I want to call on all those who witnessed wrongdoing at HBOS to get in touch with me so we can record what they saw.
Paul Moore was speaking to James Moore
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