Court told of 'jollies' spending by banker on card 'provided by consultant'


A top banker who allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for loans which consultants he worked with profited from bought a Cartier watch and a luxury cruise with a bank card he had free rein of, a court heard.

Consultant David Mills arranged for Lynden Scourfield, who is not on trial, to receive free travel at the expense of a company called Bradman Lake Group Ltd (BLG), a jury at Southwark Crown Court was told on Tuesday.

The Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) banker, who looked after corporate customers experiencing financial difficulties at its Reading branch in Berkshire, went on several trips, some of which were clearly "boys' jollies", prosecutor Brian O'Neill said.

Scourfield, 54, was also given a supplementary card by Mills, 59, which he used to spend liberally from Mills's American Express account for more than two years, the court heard.

Some of the purchases allegedly included a Cartier watch worth more than £3,000 in Barbados in 2005 and a six-star, all-inclusive cruise on the Mediterranean for the Scourfield and Mills couples in October 2004.

Together they occupied the second most expensive accommodation on the ship, the two-bedroom Royal Suite, Mr O'Neill said.

Tom Angus, a senior HBOS director from 2006 and Scourfield's direct line manager said in a statement read out in court: "The very fact that he had a card would place him in an indefensibly vulnerable position. If personal usage is on the card then the suspicion would be that there can only be one reason; that the client wants you to do something in return that may not be in keeping with your duty of care to the Bank."

Clothes, jewellery, luxury hotels and business class flights were all frequently purchased using the card, while further lavish spending took place at an oyster bar and a cheesecake restaurant, the court heard.

On several occasions, Scourfield asked the person organising the trips to send the details to his personal email rather than his HBOS one, Mr O'Neill said.

In total, the Scourfields allegedly received almost £60,000 in identifiable corrupt gifts in this way, the court heard.

The perks were intended to reward Scourfield in exchange for loans which enabled Mills and others to charge high consultancy fees, the prosecution alleges.

Mills, and his wife Alison Mills, 51, from Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire; Michael Bancroft, 73; Mark Dobson, 55; Jonathan Cohen, 57; and John Cartwright, 71, appeared in the dock on Tuesday.

The list of charges, which they deny, includes conspiracy to corrupt, fraudulent trading and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.

Women were also allegedly offered to tempt Scourfield and others, the court was told.

Terry Holligan, an employee at Mills' corporate entity Quayside (QCS), was asked to deliver an envelope of cash to a flat that a high-risk business under Scourfield's HBOS portfolio rented.

Upon asking what it was for, Cartwright, who had requested Holligan to deliver the cash while Bancroft was away in the summer of 2005, said it was "funny money" for Scourfield to pay for girls.

Several parties involving women allegedly took place at a flat in west London, where sex acts are said to have taken place, the court heard.

A woman known as "FR" described one occasion in a diary entry from December 2005, which read: "Met guys, me, Amber and Suzie. Chinese meal. Then drinks at flat and quick shag. Easy £1500. Home late and drunk", the prosecutor said.

This corresponded to a December 2005 diary entry made by an employee who worked at Fantasy, part of Remnant - a porn magazine company under Scourfield's HBOS portfolio.

She remembered being asked to arrange some girls for the head of Remnant Simon Robinson's "posh twat banker friends", Mr O'Neill said.

Her note read: "Royal China Restaurant, Baker Street in the name of Michael Bancroft", he told the court, and analysis of Bancroft's FTR business credit card showed he was a frequent visitor to the restaurant.

The group went to a nearby flat, where various sex acts took place, Mr O'Neill said, and a woman identified as "Susie Best" described one of the men as being a "Danny Devito lookalike - short and bald".

Mr O'Neill said the women were not expected to give their evidence in court but statements would be read out, as they had been accepted by the defendants as true and accurate.