Rumble in the jungle as Noel Edmonds begins £60m fight with Lloyds

Noel Edmonds is to use his appearance in the I’m A Celebrity jungle to continue his guerrilla war with Lloyds as the TV star kick-starts his £60 million legal claim against the lender.

In a series of video recordings released to the Press Association, the former Deal Or No Deal host said Lloyds will “have to pay up”, adding: “I am totally convinced at trial we will win.”

Mr Edmonds is seeking financial redress from the banking giant after falling victim to fraud by former staff at the Reading branch of HBOS, which Lloyds rescued at the height of the financial crisis.

He is pursuing Lloyds for losses allegedly suffered when his former business Unique Group was destroyed because of the fraud.

Jonathan Coad, solicitor for Mr Edmonds, on Thursday served Lloyds with a pre-case letter, needed to initiate formal proceedings which could begin as soon as December.

Explaining his motivation for going on the ITV show, Mr Edmonds took aim at Lloyds chief executive, likening him to a cockroach.

“It’s not going to do any harm to be in the jungle on ITV at peak time every single day for a few weeks.

“Hopefully I will stay in long enough that every time that I eat a cockroach millions of people will be thinking of Antonio Horta Osorio. And do you know what? I may even enjoy eating that cockroach.”

CBI conference
Noel Edmonds likened Lloyds boss Antonio Horta-Osorio to a cockroach (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Mr Edmonds has suggested that Mr Horta Osorio knew about the misdeeds of staff at HBOS, and on Wednesday claimed that the bank boss “wants to destroy me, he wants to crush me”.

He also said that other Lloyds board members are at risk of police action over the case.

“There are members of the board who are really worried about what is really going on and there are senior executives who don’t want to have their collars felt. They don’t want to be implicated when the warrants start to arrive, and they will arrive,” he said.

For its part, Lloyds has rejected the basis of Mr Edmonds’ claim.

A Lloyds spokesman said: “We are still waiting for Mr Edmonds to file his legal claim. If he does file his claim, it will be contested‎.”

Mr Coad, of Keystone Law, said: “I have never been involved in a case where so much meticulous effort has been invested by so many to professionals to prepare a claim.

“In this case we have had first to unpick a sophisticated fraud, and then piece it together using primarily documentary evidence, but also some key evidence from witnesses to what was going on at the time.”

Earlier this year, Mr Edmonds secured a “seven-figure” sum from specialist litigation funder Therium to bankroll the suit.

Therium, which helps fund lawsuits and then takes a portion of the damages if successful, is also behind a class action lawsuit against car giant Volkswagen over the emissions scandal.

The deal the TV star struck with the group also means he is insured against any costs orders that might be made against him.

Lloyds has set aside £100 million for victims of the fraud at the hands of HBOS Reading staff between 2003 and 2007.

Corrupt financiers from the branch were jailed last year for the £245 million loans scam, which destroyed several businesses and saw the criminals squander the profits on high-end prostitutes and luxury holidays.

Lloyds added: “We continue to make good progress compensating the approximately 70 customers impacted by the fraud at the HBOS Impaired Assets office based in Reading.

“We have now provided outcomes to more than 95% of customers in the review and more than 90% of these offers have been accepted.”