Victims’ bid to buy Farepak court files
8:40am Saturday 1st September 2012 in By David Wiles
A CAMPAIGN group representing the victims of the failed Swindon-based Christmas hamper firm Farepak has launched an appeal to get the court transcripts for the trial of its directors, which collapsed.
Unfairpak is asking people to donate at least £1 in a bid to reach the £2,500 needed to buy all the documents, which detail the evidence presented during the 15-day High Court Trial.
The Insolvency Service announced in June that it would discontinue the proceedings against the directors of Farepak and its parent firm, European Home Retail PLC, based on consideration of evidence given to the court to that date.
The campaign group wants to get its hands on the transcripts to investigate whether any party has a case to answer. They are particularly interested in the role of HBOS, the bank for European Home Retail, although stress that they are not suggesting any foul play by the bank.
Suzy Hall, national campaign co-ordinator, said: “The judge invited the depositors to read the evidence as well. It’s really HBOS we want these transcripts for because we want to see whether there’s a case to answer.”
Suzy, who represented the agents and customers on the liquidation committee, said the appeal had been running for about 10 days and already about £511 had been collected, allowing three transcripts to be purchased. The call has been put out on social networking website Twitter and all MPs have been asked for funds.
She said: “I think it’s an absolutely fantastic response.
“We put the appeal out on Twitter and we’ve had people who lost money through Farepak who have paid money, but we’ve also had members of the public who said they admired our determination and our ongoing search to find whether there’s anything more to find out.”
Farepak, which was based in West Swindon , collapsed in 2006 leaving 114,000 people with losses totalling £37m. Liquidator BDO confirmed last month that a payment of about 32p in the pound would be made, which includes a share of the £8m from Lloyds Banking Group.
Anne Snelgrove, who as MP for Swindon when the company collapsed, said: “Certainly I will be donating some money to them and I hope other people will. It’s a little unfair they should be charged anything at all.
“I think there are still questions in everyone’s mind about why the trial collapsed against the directors and I think there are serious questions that the Department of Trade and Industry have to answer about the case it prepared.”
Father-of-four Eddie Thelwall, 46, of Walcot , who lost about £1,000 through the Christmas hamper scheme and only got back about £75 to £100, said: “It would be nice to know why the case collapsed – and if anything actually can be done.
“But realistically the chances of anything actually being done is slim to none.
“I’m not bothered with it, whether I get any money back, but it would be nice to see someone held accountable.”
To support the appeal, visit www.unfairpak.co.uk/2012/08/20/unfairpak-paypal-appeal
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