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Ex-car auction firm boss 'can't wait for justice' in Lloyds Bank financing row

Published 25/10/2016

Mr Justice Snowden published a preliminary ruling after a hearing at the High Court
Mr Justice Snowden published a preliminary ruling after a hearing at the High Court

A businessman embroiled in a High Court fight with Lloyds Bank bosses over the financing of a car auction firm has said he "can't wait for justice to be done".

Lawyers are preparing for the next stage of the dispute - which is centred on now-insolvent Premier Motor Auctions.

Liquidators have complained that Lloyds gained effective control over Premier Motor Auctions - which oversaw a car auction business based in Leeds and a unique registration plate operation before going into liquidation in 2010 - after conspiring with accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Lloyds and PwC deny the allegations. They say former managing director Keith Elliott ran the company into the ground after drawing heavily on funds to support an extravagant lifestyle.

A judge has outlined allegations and counter-allegations in a preliminary ruling - which related to legal costs.

"I'm delighted that the case is going to be heard and that the public can see what exactly has been taking place," said Mr Elliott.

"Hopefully this case will unearth matters."

He added: "I can't wait for justice finally to be done."

Mr Justice Snowden published a preliminary ruling on Monday after a High Court hearing in London.

He said Lloyds had introduced Mr Elliott to a PwC representative, following discussions about financial arrangements.

Premier Motor Auctions' liquidators subsequently took legal action - claiming the PwC representative had been introduced to Mr Elliott on false pretences.

''It is said that (he) was used by the bank and PwC as part of a conspiracy to obtain an internal assessment of Premier Motor Auctions to identify a fictitious need for additional finance that could then be provided by the bank on terms that gave it effective control ... and the means to force them into administration so that their business and assets could be sold at an undervalue ... for the benefit of the bank,'' said Mr Justice Snowden.

''Those allegations are denied by (Lloyds and PwC), who contend that in reality Premier Motor Auctions (was) 'run into the ground' by Mr Elliott ... who drew heavily on (company) funds to support his own extravagant lifestyle.''

The judge indicated that Premier Motor Auctions' liquidators wanted compensation for losses they estimated at around £50 million.

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