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Chairman backing private equity deal took on families in court after bank overcharged them

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The boss behind the sale of LV to private equity vultures played a key role in a home repossessions scandal.

Alan Cook is at the head of the plot to sell the 178-year-old mutual life insurer to Bain Capital, a move which outraged policyholders and parliamentarians.

Now it can be revealed that he was forced to apologise to 1,400 victims who were overcharged on their mortgages.

Alan Cook, pictured, is the boss behind the sale of LV to private equity vultures and played a key role in a home repossessions scandal

Alan Cook, pictured, is the boss behind the sale of LV to private equity vultures and played a key role in a home repossessions scandal

The mortgage scandal at Permanent TSB began before Mr Cook, 68, joined the Irish lender in 2011.

In the 2000s, the bank overcharged homeowners by failing to tell them they were entitled to cheaper tracker mortgages when their fixed terms came to an end.

More than a dozen families lost their homes, while others experienced hardship and health problems doctors blamed on stress from financial worries.

Up to 100 complained to Ireland’s Financial Ombudsman, which ruled in their favour in 2010.

But the board refused to admit fault and challenged several of the decisions in the High Court, which upheld the ruling in favour of victims in 2012.

Under Mr Cook’s leadership, PTSB dug its heels in and appealed to Dublin’s Supreme Court.

It was not until 2015 that it agreed to pay victims up to £42,000 each as part of a £47million compensation package.

Their suffering had been prolonged as they were forced to continue to make the higher payments throughout the appeal process.

The bank was fined a record £17.8million in 2019 for the ‘unacceptable harm’ it caused.

MPs and LV members said they were ¿dismayed¿ that Mr Cook was ever handed the LV job, and questioned whether he backed the sale to Bain for personal gain

MPs and LV members said they were ‘dismayed’ that Mr Cook was ever handed the LV job, and questioned whether he backed the sale to Bain for personal gain

It comes as doubts emerge over Mr Cook’s future at LV amid criticism of his handling of the proposed takeover by Bain Capital.

As chairman of the insurer, he is due to stay on for two years after the sale, picking up £410,000 in the process.

But sources close to the deal have suggested he may be replaced in a bid to placate members and other critics.

The Commons Treasury committee yesterday launched a mini-inquiry into the future of mutuals, promising to interrogate ‘the implications of the proposed LV sale’.

Last week, the Daily Mail, which has championed the campaign to prevent demutualisation, revealed Mr Cook, who lives in a £1million house near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, played central roles in the Post Office IT scandal and the rollout of deadly smart motorways.

He was managing director of the Post Office from 2006 to 2010, when 200 local postmasters were wrongly prosecuted.

And he was chairman of Highways England between 2010 and 2013, when it played a key role in adjusting the design of smart motorways – including a reduction in proposed numbers of life-saving refuge areas.

MPs and LV members said they were ‘dismayed’ that Mr Cook was ever handed the LV job, and questioned whether he backed the sale to Bain for personal gain.

Mitt Romney, one of the founders of Bain Capital. Cook is at the head of the plot to sell the 178-year-old mutual life insurer LV to Bain

Mitt Romney, one of the founders of Bain Capital. Cook is at the head of the plot to sell the 178-year-old mutual life insurer LV to Bain

Gareth Thomas, Labour chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on mutuals, said: ‘To my mind, Mr Cook was never a suitable candidate and this string of controversies appears to underline that he was the wrong choice.’

Pensioner Clarissa Johnson, from Dorset, who has been with LV since 2011, said: ‘I can’t believe there’s another misstep in Mr Cook’s history.

I’m just dismayed. I have completely lost trust in LV’s bosses.’

The proposed takeover has come under attack from MPs as well as the City and industry figures.

LV bosses have been accused of failing to disclose vital information to help its policyholders evaluate the £530million offer and answer transparently about pay.

Policyholders have been offered a ‘measly’ £100 each and have until December 10 to vote on the deal.

LV and Alan Cook declined to comment.



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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