I totally agree with that. I will come on to the disclosure of evidence shortly, but the hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: the bank could have dealt with this summarily many years ago, as soon as it came to light, but it chose not to. Why it chose not to is an open question.
The basic assumption of this review was laid out by Professor Griggs himself, who was quoted as saying that when he deals with these businesses, he is
“invariably dealing with the financial equivalent of a car crash.”
How can that be the basis for any judgment that these businesses were viable? The judge in the case stated that some “were capable of rescue” and that there was
“deliberate mismanagement of these companies” by the advisers—by the fraudsters. He added that there were “plunderings made from them”, and that
“fees and any useful assets” were taken from them. Why would the review ignore a High Court judge? Only four of the 76 cases have been dealt with by means of a consequential loss. All the rest have been dealt with through distress and inconvenience—in other words, all those businesses were dud businesses. That is simply not statistically possible.