News, Culture & Society

Deal! Noel Edmonds ‘wins £5million’ from Lloyds over claims criminal bankers destroyed his business 

Mr Edmonds, pictured with wife Liz,  said that crooks working in the Reading branch of HBOS, which was bought by Lloyds in 2009, wrecked his entertainment firm, driving him to attempt suicide

Noel Edmonds has struck a multi-million-pound compensation deal with Lloyds over claims that criminal bankers destroyed his business.

Mr Edmonds said that crooks working in the Reading branch of HBOS, which was bought by Lloyds in 2009, wrecked his entertainment firm, driving him to attempt suicide.

The agreement, thought to be in the region of £5million, halts a bitter clash which saw Mr Edmonds rail against Lloyds in public meetings, and even set up a website attacking its bosses.

The Deal Or No Deal star said his business Unique Group was destroyed after it fell into the clutches of Mark Dobson, an HBOS employee who was jailed for a separate fraud in 2017.

Dobson and his cronies deliberately wrecked firms and spent the proceeds on prostitutes, holidays and luxury goods, it was found, although these allegations did not relate to Mr Edmonds’ company. 

The star said that by late 2004 the bank was weighing his firm down with unmanageable charges and bleeding it dry.

He was forced to sell his 36-room home in Devon as well as his collection of classic cars in a battle to stay afloat. 

In 2005, the entertainer’s marriage fell apart and he attempted suicide. Dobson’s influence over the company continued to grow, Mr Edmonds claimed. HBOS then cancelled a loan agreement and the business went bust in 2007.

Mr Edmonds launched a legal claim against Lloyds two years ago, seeking as much as £100million in compensation, and began a public campaign to highlight Lloyds’ treatment of small businesses.

He set up a website railing against bosses, and accused the bank of ‘total disregard for the financial regulations and the rule of law’. A £10,000 reward was even offered for compromising information about senior executives.

Early efforts to resolve the dispute fell flat, with Mr Edmonds offered £3.6million by Lloyds last November. He turned down the proposal, calling the negotiations ‘ten hours of utter nonsense’.

The Deal Or No Deal star said his business Unique Group was destroyed after it fell into the clutches of Mark Dobson, an HBOS employee who was jailed for a separate fraud in 2017

The Deal Or No Deal star said his business Unique Group was destroyed after it fell into the clutches of Mark Dobson, an HBOS employee who was jailed for a separate fraud in 2017

The two sides finally came to an agreement this week after months of secret talks. Mr Edmonds is thought to have secured significantly more than the £3.6million he was offered to begin with.

Based on payments to other victims of the fraudsters, it is thought likely he was given in the region of £5million.

Neither side would disclose the amount of compensation paid.

In a joint statement, the parties said: ‘Mr Edmonds and Lloyds Banking Group have reached an agreement in their dispute.

‘Lloyds Banking Group very much regrets and apologises for the distress suffered by Mr Edmonds as a result of the HBOS Reading fraud.’

They added that both will support Thames Valley Police, which brought the Reading gang to justice and is still investigating.

And the sides agreed to put their trust in an independent probe led by retired judge Dame Linda Dobbs, which is investigating claims of a cover-up.

Mr Edmonds has taken down his anti-Lloyds website as part of the agreement.

Sources close to the TV star insisted this was not the end of his battle with the bank and that legal claims against it will continue.

Mr Edmonds launched a legal claim against Lloyds two years ago, seeking as much as £100million in compensation, and began a public campaign to highlight Lloyds¿ treatment of small businesses

Mr Edmonds launched a legal claim against Lloyds two years ago, seeking as much as £100million in compensation, and began a public campaign to highlight Lloyds’ treatment of small businesses

It is thought that he will renew his action against Lloyds if the police investigation leads to further bankers being convicted.

Mr Edmonds has secured money from Therium, a US litigation funding firm, to support legal action against Lloyds. It is understood this agreement remains in place. 

He is also understood to remain strongly supportive of victims’ efforts to hold the lender to account.

Mr Edmonds has said that the stress caused by Unique Group’s collapse pushed him to the brink of taking his own life.

In an interview in 2017, he said: ‘HBOS had robbed me of my [second] marriage, my family, my businesses, my long-standing friend and business partner; my income, my investments, my self-respect, my reputation, my privacy, my physical and mental health. It cost me my security, my image rights, my collection of classic cars – and very nearly my life.’

The celebrity – who has branded Lloyds ‘financial terrorists’ – recalled how he wrote a letter to his wife and left recorded messages for his children before attempting suicide. Mr Edmonds was taken to the Priory Hospital in Bristol to recover.

Brave battle that means he deserves huge payout

Commentary by Ruth Sutherland, Business Editor

At first sight, Noel Edmonds’ substantial agreement with Lloyds Bank might look like yet another case of a celebrity cashing in.

Having spent hours with Noel, seeing the suffering etched on his face and hearing it in the timbre of his voice as he told me his story, it is nothing of the sort.

He deserves proper recompense for the harm done to him by a high street lender he should have been able to trust.

In parallel with his TV career, he was building a business that he was convinced could become a lucrative entertainment empire. Maybe it would have, if he had enjoyed more support from his bank.

Noel is pictured calling the 'Banker' on one of his Deal or No Deal shows. He is first and foremost a star of light entertainment. But for him and other victims who believe their firms were pillaged by the banks, this battle for justice is deadly serious

Noel is pictured calling the ‘Banker’ on one of his Deal or No Deal shows. He is first and foremost a star of light entertainment. But for him and other victims who believe their firms were pillaged by the banks, this battle for justice is deadly serious

Noel is a Marmite personality people either love or hate. But whatever you think of him, he has fought a brave battle to win justice for victims of some truly despicable behaviour by the banks.

He is not the only one to have had his life wrecked at their hands. This kind of story is replicated many times among other entrepreneurs, who say the banks squeezed them dry in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

It has never been proven that the banks pursued a deliberate policy of asset-stripping their own customers, but there are plenty of worrying individual cases.

Both Lloyds and RBS have set in train independent reviews and compensation schemes for customers.

This deal may not be the end of Noel’s fight with Lloyds but it is a major milestone. 

He is first and foremost a star of light entertainment. But for him and other victims who believe their firms were pillaged by the banks, this battle for justice is deadly serious.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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