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 Mr Edmonds confirms the claim has been ramped up substantially.
The amount, for losses allegedly suffered when Mr Edmonds’ former business Unique Group was destroyed because of the fraud, is three times the amount Lloyds has provisioned for.
He said: "My lawyer Jonathan Coad, supported by our accountants and advisers, have collated a vast amount of detailed information which gives a clear picture of the scale of the destruction to my business interests and the financial losses I have suffered.
"I am advised that given the trajectory of the businesses in the period before the criminals destroyed Unique Group and my other commercial interests, £300 million is actually a conservative figure."
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 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 added: "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."
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.
Mr Coad, from Keystone Law, has sent a submission of his findings to the bank’s review team, headed by Professor Russel Griggs, and also to the Thames Valley Police and the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.
Mr Coad said: "The Griggs Review has all the characteristics that you would expect from a bank which has tried for years to cover up the cynical fraud committed against its customers by its own managers and is still determined to evade its legal and moral responsibilities to those it has so grievously wronged.
"I have also sent the submission to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards because of the growing body of evidence that there is a historic rotten culture at Lloyds which it is now doing all it can to cover up.
"I hope that the Commission will use its powers to root that culture out once and for all."
A Lloyds’ spokesman said: "We are determined to compensate customers appropriately, swiftly and as fairly as possible.
"While we cannot comment on individual cases, we have set aside £100 million as a provision to cover the total expected redress cost.
"This remains our best estimate, but if we need to increase this amount we will absolutely do so.
"If anyone has new information about the fraud at HBOS Reading, it should be passed to the police and the regulator."
- Press Association