Between a Rockand a Very Smart Place!

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), September 23, 2007 | Go to article overview
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Between a Rockand a Very Smart Place!


Byline: Tom Worden, STEVE MYALL

SENIOR managers at Northern Rock went on a luxury corporate junket toSpain on the day tens of thousands of their customers formed huge queues towithdraw their money.

As the bank hovered close to collapse, a dozen of its key employees werechecking into the five-star Villa Padierna Ritz Carlton hotel in Marbella.

The four-day trip, paid for by the bank, started on Friday, September 14, andwas a reward for managers who had hit their mortgage sales targets earlier inthe year.

The banks credit crisis only started to abate on September 17 when ChancellorAlistair customers Darling announced that the Government would guarantee alldeposits held at the bank.

By that time, the Northern Rock team, which included Francis Mogg, anoperational director who acted as a media spokesman for the bank on mortgagematters, and Ralph Punter, an assistant director, had just finished sunningthemselves on the Costa del Sol.

Mr Punter, 40, whose Friends Reunited entry records that he drinks a lot, wastrue to his word during his stay at the [pounds sterling]160-a-night hotel. Over three days, heran up a personal drinks bill of [pounds sterling]104. He also paid for a 40-minute manicure ata cost of [pounds sterling]31.

The 122-room Tuscan-style building is queued at branches surrounded by two18-hole golf courses. Its throughout the UK grounds are dotted with apple andpalm trees and grapevines.

Even though the banks share stayed in a [pounds sterling]160-a-night superior price had beenslashed by a third, first-floor room, with a king-size bed Mr Punter, a marriedfather-of-two, covered with luxury cotton sheets. spent the evening of theirarrival On the morning of September 15, sipping wine on the terrace of the hewoke up to a [pounds sterling]23 cooked breakfast hotels La Loggia restaurant, overlookingdelivered to his roomwhich he the Mediterranean. ate outside on his sun terrace while Mr Mogg, wholives in a large looking out across the Mediterranean.

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