HBOS Reading Scandal report delayed by Dobbs Review



A review investigating how much senior management at Lloyds Banking Group knew about the HBOS Reading Scandal has been delayed for a year.

Dame Linda Dobbs, who is conducting the review, has delayed the date for report the until the second half of 2020 or even later due to the volume of work involved.

Dame Linda was commissioned by Lloyds to investigate what senior executives knew or should have known about the fraud committed by a turnaround division at the Reading branch of HBOS, which was bought by Lloyds in 2009.

Scores of small business owners were affected by the £1 billion HBOS scandal where consultants linked with an HBOS facility in Reading utilised defective business lending processes to steal from Lloyds Bank, damaging people’s finances in the process.

Dame Linda has been hired to review the period from January 2009 to the conclusion of the criminal trial in January 2017. She informed the Treasury Select Committee in June 2018 that she hoped to complete the report by the second half of 2019, The Times reports.

In December, Lloyds announced that it would be reopening its HBOS Reading fraud compensation programme to account for its poor management of compensation after the scandal.

Explaining the delay, Adam Wiseman, counsel to Dame Linda, wrote in a letter last month: “Dame Linda is still in the process of obtaining evidence. As such it is difficult precisely to gauge when her report will be finalised. It is anticipated that it will be in the second half of 2020 but that estimate is based on a multiplicity of factors, not all of which are within her direct control.”

Adam Wiseman, counsel to Dame Linda, said in a letter in January: “Dame Linda is still in the process of obtaining evidence. As such it is difficult precisely to gauge when her report will be finalised. It is anticipated that it will be in the second half of 2020 but that estimate is based on a multiplicity of factors, not all of which are within her direct control.”

Lloyds said: “We recognise the desire for transparency in relation to Dame Linda’s independent review. Accordingly, when we announced Dame Linda’s appointment, we made it clear that her completed review will be shared with the Financial Conduct Authority. We have also confirmed that we will share the findings with the Treasury Select Committee.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is also conducting an investigation on the former HBOS executives over the Reading fraud and has not yet published its report.



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