Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken today in a parliamentary debate on the Equitable Life financial scandal, highlighting the need for a change in attitude by financial regulators in light of the ongoing struggles of victims of financial fraud to get recompense. Mr Carmichael raised the more recent example of the Midas fraud which has also impacted people in the isles and North East Scotland, with the Financial Conduct Authority criticised for its passive response to concerns.
Speaking in the House remotely, Mr Carmichael said:
“I do hope that if the Government take away no other message today than this, it is that this case is simply not going to go away until their claims are met, and justice is given to them. Others have made the points about the handling of claims and the constituents that are in touch with me tell very much the same story.
“There really is just one point on which I would like to focus, and that is the need for transparency from Treasury in relation to the compensation that they have paid out, because it has already been accepted as far back as 2010 that there would be compensation for the maladministration. The fact that now eleven years later we’ve not seen that full compensation is the source of the anger here.
Highlighting the ongoing challenges for constituents who were victims of the Midas fraud, Mr Carmichael continued:
“The importance of this case goes beyond Equitable Life, because the treatment of people in similar cases continues to this day. Over the last few years, I’ve been working with constituents who lost money throughout the North-East of Scotland as a result of the fraud of Alistair Greig, a director of Midas Financial Solutions Scotland, who was eventually jailed for fourteen years for running a Ponzi scheme. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has started paying out compensation to the victims of that fraud, but they didn’t do it willingly, and my constituents and many others have had to invest more than £2 million in legal fees to get the FSCS to pay out.
“That is the sort of situation you find yourself in when you have a culture, an attitude amongst regulators that think it’s okay to leave people with smaller claims just swinging in the wind. That’s the attitude that has to change, and that’s why Treasury transparency is crucial here.”