TV presenter Noel Edmonds has spoken of his relief at receiving the backing of a third-party litigation funder in his long-running dispute with Lloyds Banking Group – while also being clear that he is not on a crusade and is prepared to settle.
Mr Edmonds has been much in the news over his claim, which concerns losses he allegedly suffered as a result of the complex fraud carried out by six, now jailed, bankers at HBOS’s Reading branch and led to the collapse of his former business. Many other small businesses suffered similarly.
Therium Capital is fully funding the £60m claim – with a reported commitment of £1.5m – and also has after-the-event insurance cover.
In a telephone interview with a US website, Mr Edmonds said his solicitors – Keystone Law – told him about the possibility of third-party funding but he did not pursue it until a mediation failed.
“I found it difficult to call it mediation,” he said. “My understanding of mediation is that you have one or more parties who have different views and through the process of mediation you hopefully arrive at common ground.
“They didn’t come to the mediation with a proposal. They just came along to suss out my legal position.
“After 10 hours they had finally offered me £3.6m. That’s a significant amount of money but not when my claim has been independently verified at £60m…
“So I walked out of mediation after 10 hours because they were not there to arrive at a negotiated settlement.”
Mr Edmonds said five funders were interested in his case, but he chose Therium because it was “the fastest” and offered “the best deal”.
He said it was a great relief: “Banks have two tactics – they drag everything out and they have incredibly deep pockets.
“The securing of litigation funding gave me the comfort that they cannot wear me down on money – it is no idle boast that I am delighted with the terms we agreed.
“They know I’m going to win this so they are going to get a handsome return on their investment.”
The Deal or No Deal host said he was asked if he was on a “crusade” and wanted his day in court – “ie, is this an ego trip?”
He continued: “No, I don’t. It was important to Therium to know I’m not a performer in this saga, I’m just the victim of criminal bankers.
“I keep sending the message that if Lloyds Banking Group would like to sit down for a negotiation, fine, I’m happy. I have an open mind. Therium know that and are encouraging that.
“Police have confirmed that they are treating my case as a criminal investigation, so I think there’s a lot to be said for Lloyds coming to the negotiation table.”