Yorkshire-based motor dealership aims to sue PwC and Lloyds bank for £55 million

15 March 2018 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read

PwC and Lloyds Banking Group are set to face a £55 million legal battle with a motor dealership which will alleges they colluded to force it out of business. PwC and Lloyds deny the claims, instead blaming the collapse of Premier Motor Auctions on the apparently poor decision making of then-CEO Keith Elliot.

Yorkshire-based Premier Motor Auctions is taking Lloyds Banking Group and professional services firm PwC to court, in a bid to sue the two groups for £55million. The defunct car auction site’s allegations centre on its claims that Lloyds used its Business Support Unit as a profit centre, in order to extract money from struggling firms.

Premier was initially introduced to a PwC Partner by the bank in 2008, after it had faced cash-flow problems, alleging that it was told the Partner would be interested in becoming a Non-Executive Director. However, Premier’s legal team believe that in fact, he told the bank confidential financial information, eventually leading to PwC carrying out a review of the business, its subsequent administration and to Lloyds taking a stake. 

Yorkshire-based motor dealership aims to sue PwC and Lloyds bank

At a court case due to be heard exactly ten years after Premier went bust, following a failed sale of the business in April 2008, lawyers will allege it was the victim of a plan to push bank staff to increase profits, as the financial crisis hit, with the dealership’s lawyers drawing a comparison with the scandal surrounding Royal Bank of Scotland’s turnaround unit Global Restructuring Group (GRG).

Lloyds and accountancy giant PwC are due to appear in court in April 2018 over claims the two firms dishonestly colluded to push Premier Motor Auctions into insolvency. The duo deny Premier’s claims, arguing that the extravagant lifestyle of its Chief Executive, Keith Elliot, contributed to his own assets being liquidated. Both PwC and Lloyds insist that they acted with transparency and integrity.

A PwC spokesperson commented, “The liquidator’s case is misconceived. We will be vigorously defending the claim.”

In a statement, Lloyds added, “The Business Support Unit is not a profit centre and its objective is to restore customers to financial health.” The bank further stated the case had been, "reviewed extensively over a number of years at the most senior levels within the bank," as well as third parties. According to the statement, "no evidence of any wrong doing" has been identified thus far.

PwC were recently the subject of another multi-million lawsuit, this time over allegations it had leveraged sexual assault allegations aimed at a Senior Partner, to hasten his retirement. PwC similarly offered a rigorous denial of the claims, stating, “We reject the allegations that age or race had any bearing whatsoever on the decision, and we continue to support our female member of staff.”