Two former Halifax Bank of Scotland employees were part of a group of financiers yesterday found guilty of bribery and corruption in a £245m scam.
After a five-month trial at Southwark Crown Court, former banker David Mills, HBOS employee Mark Dobson and three other finance professionals Michael Bancroft, Alison Mills, and Tony Cartwright were convicted yesterday of various corruption offences.
Another former HBOS employee Lynden Scourfield pleaded guilty in August 2016.
Jonathan Cohen was acquitted of fraudulent trading and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.
The scam, led by Scourfield and David Mills, saw HBOS incur losses of approximately £250m.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Scourfield led a department at HBOS that dealt with businesses in financial difficulty.
Having been bribed by David Mills, he required selected customers of the bank to engage the services of Mills and his company Quayside Corporate Services to get further lending from HBOS.
Scourfield then advanced large sums of money to the businesses.
This enabled Mills and his associates – his wife Alison, as well as Bancroft, and Cartwright – to demand high fees for their consultancy services.
The CPS says many of the businesses affected by the group’s actions went into liquidation resulting in job losses, financial hardship, marital breakdowns, the loss of their homes and serious ill-health.
A police investigation uncovered evidence of huge incentives paid to Scourfield by Mills to reward his corruption, including cash payments and money transfers amounting to several hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Mills also provided lavish hospitality, expensive foreign holidays and sex workers including prostitutes.
Specialist prosecutor from the CPS specialist fraud division Stephen Rowland says: “Many people have had their lives ruined by the corrupt behaviour of Lynden Scourfield, David Mills and their associates. Scourfield worked in a section of his bank which was supposed to help struggling businesses but instead, motivated by greed, he went about stripping them of their assets.”
Those convicted are due to be sentenced on 2 February.