Midland Bank `Let Fraudster in to Ruin a Customer'
Nisse, Jason, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
A small businessman will go up against the might of HSBC in the High Court on Tuesday in the culmination of an eight-year battle over what he alleges was a breach of trust.
Norman Bale, who is based in Truro in Cornwall, alleges that HSBC and a business adviser recommended by the bank, Nicholas Montgomery, were responsible for allowing a convicted fraudster to gain control of the books of a prefabricated house company he ran, BergHus Europe.
The fraudster, Colin Budd, set up a separate company with a similar name and transferred money and assets to it. As a result, the real BergHus went into liquidation in 1995.
Budd, who was convicted of fraud and made bankrupt in the 1980s, has since died.
Mr Bale claims he and other creditors lost more than pounds 2m because of the collapse. He has been pursuing the case through the courts since 1995. Initially it was thrown out, but he had it reinstated on appeal and it opens in the High Court on Tuesday.
A successful business, BergHus won an award at the National Self- Build Exhibition in 1994. It had its account at a branch of what was then Midland Bank, since rebranded HSBC, in Worthing, East Sussex.
Mr Bale went to the manager of the branch in early 1994 looking to increase BergHus's overdraft facility. …