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Barclays sues Savills PF and others over alleged mortgage fraud

Barclays Private Clients International and Barclays Bank are suing mortgage brokerage Savills Private Finance, chartered surveyors Stocker & Roberts Partnership and O’Sullivan Law Solicitors for losses from an alleged mortgage fraud.

It is also suing solicitors Montague Lambert & Co for alleged negligence, which it denies.

A hearing was held on January 25 and a trial will take place if an agreement cannot be reached.

The case is in relation to a number of mortgages for properties between 2006 and 2007.

Barclays is reportedly seeking damages in the region of £12m from the defendants.

In court documents obtained by Mortgage Strategy, the bank alleges that an employee of SPF at the time, Charles Goldsmith, used the services of Stocker & Roberts to value the properties and the valuations were “grossly and fraudulently overstated”.

SPF denies it was in breach of contract, negligent or fraudulent.

Barclays also alleges that in two transactions Goldsmith was paid £70,000 and £10,000 personally shortly after the deals were completed.

SPF argues in its submitted defence that although the money was paid to Goldsmith it cannot say who it was paid by or whether there was an honest reason for the payments being made.

A spokeswoman for SPF, says: “SPF confirms legal proceedings have been issued against it in relation to five mortgages arranged by one of its employees four years ago.

“SPF can confirm that the employee involved was dismissed in November 2007, when irregularities first came to light, but it can make no further comments with regards to proceedings as these are ongoing.”

In Barclays’ claim for one of the mortgage transactions involving two properties in London, it alleges that a property was valued at £19.5m when it claims the value was £10.6m.

In its defence Stocker & Roberts denies it committed any fraud upon the bank.

Stocker & Roberts says if, which is not admitted, the bank has suffered any loss or damage caused by the negligent reports and valuations of Stocker & Roberts, the bank caused or contributed to that loss by failing to take adequate steps to protect itself against the possibility of fraud or imprudent lending.

All parties are defending the allegations.

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  • Matt Johnson 24th January 2012 at 1:44 am

    Savills PF have been doing this for years. They used to engage colleys surveyor to carry out their valuations. THey were always skewed in favour of SPF. The valuers were told what figure was needed and if the valuers did not oblige all hell would break loose. SPF were treated to expensive foreign breaks every Christmas.

  • Chris Packet 14th February 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I’m all in favour of transparency. Why don’t Barclays allow independent auditors value it’s offshore commercial property portfolio? I can’t think of Enron reason why they should’nt.

  • Chris Packet 14th February 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I’m all in favour of transparency. Why don’t Barclays allow independent auditors value it’s offshore commercial property portfolio? I can’t think of Enron reason why they should’nt.

  • John Chedozie 14th February 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I love the concept that the valuer is using in defence! The bank “failed to take adequate steps to protect itself against the possibility of fraud”…what by believing our valuation report!!!?? You have got to love that.

    Having said that – Barclays, ever heard of an audit valuation?

  • Buster Johns 14th February 2011 at 10:18 am

    Well Its no surprise is it. They want to sort this housing mess out? Well there it is on a plate. No estate agent should ever be allowed to own a property Survey company including banks etc. Why? Its conflict of interest and everyone knows it. Its insider trading in the worst possible form right in fromt of your eyes and its being going on years. Break the banks up, break the estate agents up from the surveyors and get true independence back and competition.

  • Robin 14th February 2011 at 10:16 am

    Whilst I do not mind Barclays taking this action, surely the responsibility lies with the surveyor who gave the valuations? Unless collusion between the surveyor & the adviser is proven? Was this a Barclays authorised suveyor?

  • Full Details 14th February 2011 at 9:34 am
  • Avenue & Co Private Finance 14th February 2011 at 9:15 am

    My understanding is that in the 10 years of doing mortgages – not once have we ever been able to instruct a surveyors of our choice in relation to a property valuation – wo why did Barclays allow SPF to use Stocker & Roberts – on more than one occassion? Could anyone from Barclays confirm why they allowed SPF to do this?

    Not good news for all parties involved.

  • Roger Pettit 14th February 2011 at 9:12 am

    We wait with bated breath for the FSA to come riding over the hill on this one !!!

  • FSA dont touch the big boys 14th February 2011 at 9:10 am

    The big question now is are they off the Barclays Panel – which makes SPF one of the less trusted brokers and NOT independent.

    Whats £12m to Savills? – the parent company will pay it and forget it – just commission on a couple of big sales.

  • Ancient Wisdom...is a mortgage broker in N3 14th February 2011 at 9:02 am

    shocking news indeed! Now hes an ex employee, what can SPF do?

  • Hypothecation 14th February 2011 at 8:39 am

    If I was lending on a property supposedly valued at £19.5m I would certainly have sought a second valuation . . .