LONDON (Reuters) - British TV presenter and former disc jockey Noel Edmonds has more than quadrupled the damages he is seeking from Lloyds Banking Group to 300 million pounds ($392 million) as he steps up a 12-year demand for compensation.
Two former bankers with Lloyds’ HBOS unit in the English town of Reading were among those jailed earlier this year for their involvement in a scam which affected 67 people.
The jailed bankers pushed struggling business owners to employ a costly turnaround consultancy as a condition for receiving loans and, in some cases, hand over ownership.
One of the bankers received designer watches, exotic holidays and sex with prostitutes in return for referring clients to the consultancy, evidence presented in the trial showed.
Britain’s biggest mortgage lender missed a self-imposed June-end deadline for making offers to most victims of the fraud.
On Tuesday Edmonds, who has presented a variety of entertainment and game shows on British TV, accused Lloyds of using a review being carried out by the bank into the fraud as a “cynical ploy to keep victims’ compensation pay-outs to the bare minimum.”
The new demand for compensation raises concerns Lloyds will have to increase the 100 million pounds it has set aside to repay customers, many of whom lost businesses. This led to job losses and financial hardship.
Lloyds said in a statement while it will not comment on individual claims, it is standing by its 100 million pound provision for compensating customers.
“This remains our best estimate, but if we need to increase this amount we will absolutely do so,” the bank said.
Lloyds said last week only five victims have received compensation five months after the trial ended.
Edmonds said in a statement that he has evidence to support the view of the police and prosecutors that the HBOS criminality extended far beyond those convicted.
“This explains why Lloyds created the secretive review process in an attempt to limit their liability to a very small number of victims when of course, as they are well aware, the true figure is in the thousands,” he said.
Jonathan Coad, Edmonds’ lawyer, said the increased demand for compensation comes after new information was discovered after further investigation of the case.
Edmonds, who was originally demanding 70 million pounds in compensation, has set up a countdown clock, and created a spoof TV online advert as part of his campaign for compensation.
He said Lloyds compensation offer “is like trying to plug an active volcano with a cork.”
Reporting By Andrew MacAskill, editing by Pritha Sarkar