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Bank boss backed by taxpayer in line for £4.4m pay

The boss of taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group is reportedly in line for a multimillion-pound bonus this year, despite an expected loss at the bank.

The Sunday Times has said Antonio Horta-Osorio could be in line for as much as £4.4m, although there is no certainty he will receive this.

It is thought he is entitled to an annual bonus worth up to £2.25m, with more as part of a long-term incentive plan paying out in three years.

Given the political tensions over banking bonuses, the Lloyds directors may decide not to pay the full amount to the Portuguese banker, who last year waived his bonus following sick leave.

Lloyds shares were the second best performing of Europe's banks last year and closed last week at 54p, up from 25.5p in May.

But the bank is still expected to make a full year loss of about £1.4bn, as it continues to suffer from bad debts from corporate loans and a big bill over the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI).

The 40% state-owned lender was pushed to a £144m loss in the three months to September 30, as it took an additional £1bn charge for dealing with the scandal, taking its total to £5.3bn.

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Lloyds froze basic pay for 500 senior staff for the third year in a row on Friday.

But stripping out the cost of PPI, the group doubled its underlying profit to a better-than-expected £840m in the third quarter as it slashed bad debts and narrowed losses from its non-core businesses.

There will be fears of another "shareholder spring", which saw some of Britain's biggest companies face a series of rebellions over pay last year.

Lloyds avoided such a rebellion at its own annual meeting, where some 97.6% of shareholder votes backed its remuneration report.