Noel Edmonds has increased his compensation claim against Lloyds Banking Group to a massive £300 million after he fell victim to fraud at the hands of former HBOS Reading staff.
The former Deal Or No Deal host had originally been seeking in the region of £50 million to £70 million, but a new statement issued by him confirms the claim has been ramped up substantially.
In addition, he has described a review being carried out by the bank into the scandal as a “cynical ploy to keep victims’ compensation pay-outs to the bare minimum”, while claiming the fraud took place on an “industrial scale”.
Mr Edmonds said: “The trial judge and the police have always maintained that the criminal activities went far beyond the ‘Reading 6’ and we have documentary evidence to support their views.
“Lloyds have also been accused of actively blocking police enquiries, which is why my lawyers are sending the Thames Valley Police our documentation which I believe suggests the HBOS/Lloyds criminal activities were actually conducted on an ‘industrial’ scale.”
Lloyds, which rescued HBOS at the height of the financial crisis, has set aside a £100 million pot for customers affected by the fraud, which took place between 2003 and 2007 at the hands of former HBOS Reading staff.
The corrupt financiers were jailed earlier this year for the £245 million loans scam which destroyed several businesses, before they squandered the profits on high-end prostitutes and luxury holidays.
Mr Edmonds’ new £300 million claim – for losses allegedly suffered when his former business Unique Group was destroyed because of the fraud – is three times the amount Lloyds has provisioned for.
He added: “We now have documentary evidence to support the view of Thames Valley Police, the judiciary and the CPS that the HBOS criminality extended far beyond the ‘Reading 6′.
“This explains why Lloyds created the secretive review process in an attempt to limit their liability to a very small number of victims when of course, as they are well aware, the true figure is in the thousands.”
“Lloyds are about to discover their Griggs Review, a cynical ploy to keep victims’ compensation pay-outs to the bare minimum, is like trying to plug an active volcano with a cork.”
Mr Edmonds has led a public campaign against the lender, which has seen him admit that he came close to taking his own life following the fraud.
For its part, Lloyds has so far made more than £10 million of compensation offers and hardship payments to customers affected by the scandal.
Thirty customers have either now received a compensation offer or are in the “detailed stages” of assessment and will receive an offer shortly, the lender said last week.