This is the recording of my meeting with the FCA in February 2017 when I presented evidence to show that HSBC should repay at least £80m, not the £4m they have agreed to repay. I have edited out names and one section on a third person not relevant to the fraud. Below the recording is my evidence.
I am publishing a spreadsheet showing why HSBC should repay £80-100m in illegal charges added by HFC Bank and John Lewis Financial Services Limited to accounts referred to solicitors Weightmans and Restons. The information is taken from a huge, but incomplete dataset sent to me anonymously, of County Court Judgment records, which I spent weeks analysing. County Court judgments are public records, in theory anyone can access them (at a cost).
I gave the FCA this information in February, following their announcement that HSBC had “voluntarily” agreed to repay £4m to 6,700 people. They refuse to tell me whether they are checking the judgment records and it seems another cover-up is in progress.
This data shows that in total 449,445 people were charged the illegal charges. However, the true figure is higher than this because my database only covers the years 2004-2008 (2008 is incomplete), when in fact the charges were added in the period 2003-2009.
The column on the left indicates the year and claim number codes which identify the solicitors. So, 5XO is 2005 Restons, 5XQ is 2005 Weightmans. There is some uncertainty over the JJ and QN figures, although I have records of claims from the solicitors with those codes. The figure following the year/code is the amount in total of the claims for that year.
There follows a series of calculations – the total amount claimed for the period of the incomplete dataset is £337,799,891.00. From this I have deducted £37,799,891 to account for the (legal) costs that were added to the claims. This leaves £300,000,000.
I have then applied a 75% reduction to this figure because I know that Restons had other clients besides HFC and John Lewis. The illegal charge added was 16.4% of the amount outstanding, which gives a figure of £31,701,031.00.
This figure is then multiplied by 5 because Weightmans stated in Chambers directory that they only issued proceedings in 20% of the claims they handled. This is because the solicitors funded the litigation and risked losing the court fees and all other disbursements.
So, from an incomplete dataset, a total of £158,505,155.00 in illegal charges were added. Assuming the years 2003 and 2009, and the remainder of the incomplete records for 2008 were added, it is safe to assume that the total in illegal charges added between 2003 and 2009 was £200,000,000. Assuming a recovery rate of 40%, which is conservative, HSBC should repay at least £80m
|£300,000,000.00||court fees deducted|
|£31,701,031.00||illegal fees @ 16.4%|
|119,852||Total records (145,481 from MoJ FoI figures.|
|NOTE if a judgment is paid within a month it will not appear on these records.|