HBOS, FAREPAK AND EHR DIRECTORS

Having only had time to skim read Mr Justice Peter Smith’s statement, we will make the following comments.

Regarding Mr Peter Johnson to be the only person to criticise the Farepak model due to the fact that Park Group Plc ringfence customers’ monies, Park were put in the position of ringfencing customers’ monies due to the collapse of Farepak.  We obviously agree with customers’s monies being ringfenced and the Christmas Pre-payment Association has now traded successfully for almost 6 years.

Regarding what the Directors of EHR/Farepak should have done earlier is basically given the creditors the truth.  The directors advised us of the collapse of Choice but informed us that a new agreement with Grass Roots had been made for Bonusbond vouchers.  Yes, a new agreement had been reached but said agreement required payment up front.  The directors of Farepak must have known they would not have had enough money to pay for the vouchers up front.

Farepak customers were never given a choice over what to do.  We were not told of cashflow problems, we were not told that when Choice collapsed, Farepak would have to pay up front for vouchers and the significance of this fact.  We were not told that EHR’s shares were suspended on 23 August 2006.  If we had been told these very important points, how many of us would have wished our money back?  We suspect practically every single saver and Farepak would have known that also and known that they would never be able to repay us due to the fact HBOS had our money as it was swept up daily from the Farepak account into the EHR account and then directly to HBOS.

Unfairpak still believe to this day that the directors do have questions which require to be answered and we will now not get those answers.  We note Mr Justice Peter Smith has stated that the evidence will be made available for any interested party wishing to read same.  We can confirm that Unfairpak will request said evidence and it does not matter how long it takes us to read same, we will do it and we shall report on it.

Now to matters relating to HBOS.  HBOS is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group.  Accordingly, Unfairpak will now be launching a new campaign and that is to have the money that HBOS took from us, returned.

We note that they are refusing to return any money stating they paid 2 million into the Farepak Response Fund.  This is not good enough! Unfairpak demonstrated, quite correctly, at HBOS in 2006 whilst they sipped champagne inside the HQ in Edinburgh.  We were presented with a letter criticising our campaign and criticising our National Campaign Co-ordinator, Suzy Hall.  This letter can be seen on our forum and also on You Tube you can see Suzy reading out the letter to demonstrators.

Colin Fox, then an MSP was a fantastic ambassador to the cause and came up with the slogan for HBOS of “Hand Back Our Savings”.  That is what we are demanding now.  We want our savings back.  We are, at the present time, ascertaining how much money was swept up to HBOS following suspension of EHR’s shares on 23 August 2006.  Once we have said figure, we shall be demanding same back from Lloyds.

We will fight hard, just as we did in 2006, to get justice for Farepak creditors.  We will not give up this fight until Lloyds repay monies owed morally to Farepak creditors.  HBOS lied and made a mockery of our campaign.  Again, Mr Peter Johnson of Park Group Plc was ‘on the ball’ so far as HBOS was concerned.  He wrote to the Chairman (who we believe to be Andy Hornby) expressing his extreme concern that the rescue package Park II was still sitting with HBOS.  In total it sat with HBOS for 6 weeks.  At first HBOS stated that Park II could be a “neat solution……” yet on 10 October 2006 they rejected said rescue plan and as we all know the entire Group fell into administration.

Unfairpak also wish every single member of ‘higher management’ of HBOS in 2006, investigated by the Treasury Select Committee and made to answer questions on why they rejected every single proposal made to them especially Park II which while they sat on same, millions of pounds were pouring into HBOS’s bank account from the EHR sweep.

We will leave this post as it is just now as we are still awaiting more facts to push our campaign ahead.  Unfairpak won an award for Campaign of the Year in 2007 from the Scottish Herald Politician Awards.  We take that award seriously.  We were honoured to have received same and we shall not continue the work that began in 2006 until we reach a satisfactory conclusion.

 

Collapse of Farepak Directors Trial

Unfortunately I am out of the Country and shall not return until beginning of July.  I heard this news through a barrage of texts and emails which I received upon landing last night.

Unfairpak has always taken the stance since 2006 that HBOS had a case to answer to yet we were constantly fobbed off with “HBOS did NOT bank Farepak, we provided a loan to the Group”.  HBOS even wrote an open letter to the Unfairpak Forum which is on our forum and any member will be happy to point same out to anyone who wishes to read this.

Unfairpak presented a petition to HBOS at the demonstration prior to Christmas 2006 which many MSP’s boycotted due to HBOS’s role in the Farepak debacle.

It became clear very early on that the directors’ defence would hinge upon HBOS and again, sadly, we were right.  We still stand by the fact that the directors “should have known better”.  We still feel there has been a huge miscarriage of justice here.  Directors ought to know how their company is run and with the cashflow problems that Farepak faced, Unfairpak fully and firmly believe that the entire group of European Home Retail should have been put into administration much earlier on in 2006.  They should certainly have been put into administration upon suspension of EHR’s shares in August.  Take for example the Woolworths Group.  Upon suspension of their shares, they called in the administrations.  In Unfairpak’s opinion, Woolworths acted correctly.

For HBOS to refer to our savings as “Doris Money” is absolutely disgusting.  What do they [HBOS] think we are? Financially illiterate, bumbling fools who did not know what we were doing?  Farepak savers were clever, prudent people who saved for Christmas so as not to get into debt.  Referring to our savings as “Doris Money” just adds insult to injury and we are appalled to hear our savings described this way.

Peter Cummings, the “ultimate arbitrator” must answer questions now.  As must Andy Hornby who was CEO at the time of the collapse.  Unfairpak will tweet the open letter which is on You Tube.  Please followers re tweet same and let the UK know what “spin” HBOS gave us.

HBOS are one of the UK banks that were bailed out by the government!  Unfairpak still to this day do not believe that the government should bail out Farepak “victims”.  However, what we do believe now is that HBOS should repay, in full, the 38 million they successfully clawed back through the administration of the European Home Retail Group.

Upon my return, I will be ensuring that Mr Vince Cable and I meet to discuss matters further.  I will also be asking the Treasury Select Committee to look hard at HBOS.

What I would like to end with is this.  Ask yourself a question, if you bank with HBOS.  Do you really wish to put your money in a bank that refers to decent human being’s savings as “Doris Money”.  Do you think they actually care about anyone other than themselves?  Unfairpak would urge you to really think long and hard if you do bank with HBOS as to what your feelings are regarding the utter contempt they have shown for over 123,000 people whilst taking Christmas savings of approximately 38million pounds.  I certainly would not wish to bank with HBOS!

My final words until I get home “HBOS, shame on you”!

Farepak Directors Trial 19 June 2012

Taken from William Rollason and Stevan’s Fowler’s Skeleton Argument is the following:-

 

 

Mr Kelly’s email of 3 October 2006 said, “if Findel messes us around then we may end up going with the management plan. This is fairly unappetising in many respects given it doesn’t de-risk the Bank but it is probably preferable to a lengthy insolvency and workout with all the added risk this brings with it.”

 

Unfairpak can advise that Mr Kelly is from HBOS and was on the stand today.  We have been advised that he was being given a “pounding” by the defence team on “not raising concerns of possible administration with the directors earlier”.

 

Unfairpak believe that the directors defence may hinge on HBOS and the possibility that they led them [directors] to believe there may have been a solvent solution.

Court Details for 20 June 2012 Farepak Directors Trial

    COURT 26

Before MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

At half past 10

GENERAL LIST

Part Heard

584 of 2011 In the matter of European Home Retail plc and in the matter of Farepak Food & Gifts Ltd

Court Details 19 June 2012 – FAREPAK DIRECTORS DUE TO START GIVING EVIDENCE

Cause list Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Updated: 18 June 2012 13.07 (refresh your browser for the latest version)

The following list is subject to change until 4.30pm. Any alterations after this time will be telephoned or emailed direct to the parties or their legal representatives.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

 

CHANCERY DIVISION

 

 

COURT 26

Before MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

At half past 10

GENERAL LIST

Part Heard

584 of 2011 In the matter of European Home Retail plc and in the matter of Farepak Food & Gifts Ltd

Court Details Day 13 Farepak Directors Trial 18 June 2012

 

Cause list Monday, 18 June 2012

Updated: 15 June 2012 16.58 (refresh your browser for the latest version)

The following list is subject to change until 4.30pm. Any alterations after this time will be telephoned or emailed direct to the parties or their legal representatives.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

 

CHANCERY DIVISION

 

 

COURT 26

Before MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH

Monday, 18 June 2012

At half past 10

GENERAL LIST

Part Heard

584 of 2011 In the matter of European Home Retail plc and in the matter of Farepak Food & Gifts Ltd

Skeleton Argument for Sir Clive Thompson & Non Executive Directors EHR/Farepak

Skeleton Argument Sir Clive Thompson & Non Executive Directors

 

 

This opening skeleton argument is filed on behalf of the 2nd, 5th, 6th and 9th Defendants (referred to collectively below as “the EHR Non-Executives”), being Mr Neil Gillis (“Mr Gillis”), Mr Michael Johns (“Mr Johns”), Mr Paul Munn (“Mr Munn”) and Sir Clive Thompson (“Sir Clive”). The Secretary of State (“SoS”) seeks Disqualification Orders against each of them under section 8 of the Company Directors’ Disqualification Act 1986 (“CDDA 1986”) on the grounds that the conduct of each of them as a director of European Home Retail PLC (“EHR”) was such as to make them unfit to be concerned in the management of a company.

Skeleton Argument Nicholas Gilodi-Johnson Farepak Food & Gifts Limited

Nicholas Gilodi-Johnson Skeleton Argument

 

 

Mr Gilodi-Johnson is the only son of Bob Johnson, one of the founders of Farepak. In 1993, its shares were listed on the London Stock Exchange. The listed company was Farepak plc. It subsequently changed its name to Kleeneze plc and then to the European Home Retail plc (“EHR”) in 2005. The original Farepak business at this time was carried on by a subsidiary known as Farepak Food and Gifts Ltd (“FFG”).

William Rollason & Stevan Fowler’s Skeleton Argument

William Rollason & Stevan Fowler’s Skeleton Argument

 

This skeleton argument is filed on behalf of the First Defendant (“Mr Fowler”) and the Eighth Defendant (“Mr Rollason”), both of whom were directors of both EHR AND FFG.  Mr Rollason was the Chief Executive of EHR; Mr Fowler was appointed as Group Finance Director on 1 January 2006 and he actually started work on 9 January 2006 (which was after the start of the material period for the allegations). 

Prosecution Skeleton Case against the Directors of EHR and Farepak Food & Gifts Limited

Prosecution Skeleton Case against Defendants EHR and Farepak Food & Gifts Limited

 

Very long read.  If you need any help with the legal jargon, please ask.  We shall be putting this on the Forum also.