Successful prosecution of HBoS corruption trial by Brian O’Neill QC and Angus Bunyan
Following a 4 months’ trial at Southwark Crown Court David Mills, his wife Alison, Michael Bancroft, Mark Dobson and Tony Cartwright have been convicted of a variety of offences including conspiracy to corrupt, fraudulent trading and conspiracy to launder criminal property. And it can now be revealed that Lynden Scourfield, the HBoS banker about whom the jury heard so much, pleaded ‘guilty’ to the same counts in August 2016 shortly before the trial commenced.
The corrupt relationship which developed between David Mills and Scourfield lay at the heart of the prosecution’s case. Mills corrupted Scourfield and his fellow HBoS banker Dobson who as a consequence gave him and his wife and their associates the opportunity to earn substantial fees as consultants to various companies which were under their control and to take some of them over. But the consultancy fees which Mills and the others received were only a fraction of the benefit and remuneration which he in particular gained as a result of his involvement with numerous companies.
The corruption of Scourfield took the form of cash and bank transfers, luxury goods and lavish hospitality, foreign holidays and cruises, and sex parties in West End flats. Scourfield’s knowledge of the bank’s inadequacies enabled him to take advantage of system failures and poor management practices meaning that his behaviour went undetected for years.
The investigation, one of the largest ever undertaken by Thames Valley Police, generated a vast amount of material and has once again given rise to questions about how such cases and in particular the disclosure issues which they generate can best be managed by the prosecution.
Brian O’Neill QC and Angus Bunyan were assisted in the prosecution by Hannah Willcocks and Rachel Naylor of Red Lion Court. They were instructed by Steve Rowland and Hasan Osman of the Crown Prosecution Service Specialist Fraud Division.
The defendants will be sentenced by HHJ Beddoe on Friday 3rd February.
The case was widely covered in the national press: