I thought it would be useful to detail the different cover-ups by various bodies, to protect the reputation, such that it is, of HSBC. I don’t necessarily think there has been a conspiracy. It’s just the culture in this country that the City is not touched by the people who rely on it for their corrupt existence, including the media.
Ministry of Justice
I applied to Registry Trust, the company contracted to the MoJ to maintain the register of county court judgments, for data relating to debts on which the illegal charges had been added. It would have been a simple process of filtering their database. They refused, after consulting with MoJ – I took the MoJ to court to appeal their refusal but lost on very flimsy spurious grounds. County court judgments are public domain information and everyone should be entitled to access to them.
Office of Fair Trading
I told the bank’s solicitor in 2003 that what they were doing was illegal. In 2010 the OFT made an order against the bank telling them to stop adding the illegal charges. However, the order was hidden away as a pdf attachment to a press release about creditors using charging orders oppressively – nothing to do with “collection charges”. Furthermore, the order was dated one day after, and released two weeks after David Cameron made HSBC chair, Stephen Green, a Lord and invited him into government as his trade minister.
Financial Conduct Authority
In this case it’s a question of complete inactivity (as far as I am aware). I reported the fraud to them in December 2012. To date, and to my knowledge, they have done absolutely nothing. I recently made a Freedom of Information request to them asking what action they had taken – they are still considering whether supplying that information is in the public interest!
Update (11/4/14) – I have now received the response from FCA – see here – this is the most blatant, incompetent cover-up in the whole sage.
Solicitors Regulation Authority
The worst culprits by far. I reported my employers Weightmans to the SRA in 2006. They took a year to reach the decision that although they upheld my complaint the charges were forbidden contingency fees they took no action because it “only happened in a small number of cases”. Either Weightmans lied or they do not consider 70-80,000 cases worth in excess of £100m to be large.
Unbelievably Weightmans continued adding the charges after the SRA ruling (I don’t know on what basis but still in breach of Solicitor Rules) and a debtor wrote to the SRA a year after the ruling complaining about the charges. The SRA said that Weightmans are a regulated firm that abides by the rules. One year after they had found that they had breached the rules.
In August 2012 I reported the firm of Restons and the bank’s solicitor Duncan Hamilton to the SRA for unlawful practices. The SRA appear to have done nothing about Duncan Hamilton but over a year later stated they found no evidence of wrongdoing by Restons, despite my sending them all the evidence making it obvious that they were acting unlawfully.
The fact is, if the SRA admitted the fraud they would face a muliti-million pound claim on their Compensation Fund. They wouldn’t have enough, and besides, they dip into the fund to pay for investigations.
Legal Services Board
This is the body that oversees the activities of the SRA. I made a report that I did not consider that the SRA had adequately investigated my complaint. At first they showed concern and said they would investigate my serious allegation. In a very short time they came to the conclusion that the SRA had acted appropriately. They achieved this miraculous conclusion by writing to the SRA asking if they had adequately investigated the complaint. The SRA replied that they had – therefore there was nothing for me to worry my pretty little head about.
I have made reports to Action Fraud and the Serious Fraud Office, neither have which have done anything at all. I still have an outstanding report to the City of London Police economic crime unit, who as far as I am aware are still investigating my complaint.
Update 25 April 2014 – City of London police confirm they will not be considering any criminal prosecutions. What a surprise. I will blog about their reasons shortly.
Various MPs know about the fraud but not one of them has lifted a finger to assess what the facts are. The list includes my MP Amber Rudd (ex-banker & PPS to Osborne), Pat Mcfadden (sat on Parliamentary Committee on Banking Standards), Jeremy Corbyn, Margaret Hodge, John Mann, Dennis Skinner, Stella Creasy, Lord Bassam, Lord Sugar and Ed Miliband, who I told personally when he came to see me in Hastings.