The Dame Linda Dobbs Review
Dame Linda Dobbs DBE has been appointed by Lloyds Banking Group ("LBG") to consider whether the issues relating to HBOS Reading were investigated and appropriately reported to authorities at the time by LBG, following its acquisition of HBOS.
The independent legal assessment will cover the period following HBOS’s acquisition by LBG, in January 2009, through to the conclusion of criminal proceedings commenced against six individuals in connection with the HBOS Reading fraud. In addition, the Review will examine relevant evidence from before 2009 in order to assess what LBG knew or should reasonably have known about what happened at HBOS Reading by the time of the acquisition.
Dame Linda's appointment was announced by LBG on 26 April 2017. LBG's announcement is available here.
We are now approaching the final stages of my Review into Lloyds Banking Group’s handling of the HBOS Reading affair.
I know that many of you affected by the HBOS Reading fraud have been frustrated at the length of time it has been taking.
My finished report will include a detailed explanation of the complexities involved in carrying out this inquiry, which we believe to be one of the largest independent financial inquiries ever conducted.
Clearly the COVID pandemic has affected progress, in particular our ability to schedule interviews as quickly as we would have liked to.
The interviewing process has been time-consuming for all concerned. Witnesses are entitled to legal representation, they have needed time to prepare and there are significant amounts of documentation involved. In addition, some witnesses live abroad, many have heavy commitments and, as a non-statutory inquiry, I do not have powers of compulsion. These and other factors have all impacted our ability to schedule interviews in a timely manner.
My report will also include details of the time-consuming process in gaining access to documents covered by legal professional privilege. These communications would not normally be provided to an inquiry. This material is highly sensitive and so the process for reviewing the documents has been complicated. This has also had a significant impact on the scheduling of interviews.
We now expect to finish the witness interviews during the course of the summer. LBG are also being asked to respond to specific questions that have arisen. I will then need to draw together the various strands of evidence to reach my final conclusions. This is a complicated process and we will be working as fast as possible to complete it.
I will submit my report to Lloyds Banking Group as soon as possible after this process has taken place.
Dame Linda Dobbs
Dame Linda will assess whether, between 19 January 2009 and 30 January 2017, information about issues relating to HBOS Reading which LBG knew, or should have known about through reasonable diligence, was properly investigated and appropriately reported to the relevant authorities. As part of this assessment, the Review will examine relevant evidence from before 2009 in order to assess what LBG knew or should reasonably have known about what happened at HBOS Reading by the time of the acquisition.
Further detail as to the Scope of the Review is available here.
To view a copy of the guide, click here.
The Review welcomes comment and submissions from interested parties. Evidence or information relevant to the inquiry should be submitted directly via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A copy of Dame Linda's announcement inviting submissions is available here.
A message from Dame Linda Dobbs to Witnesses - March 2020 can be found here.
LBG’s clear position is that anyone with relevant information can provide it to the Review. The confirmation letter is available here.
Dame Linda was the first non-white High Court judge to be appointed in the UK and before that she was a leading barrister and QC, specializing in fraud and white collar crime cases. Her professional biography is available here.
All media enquiries concerning the Review should be addressed to:
Peter Wilson-Smith +44 (0)20 7043 4604 or +44 (0)7979 526152
Jimmy Chen +44 (0)20 7043 4606 or +44 (0)7787 492922