Graham Milne

Graham Milne

Sector: 
Chartered Accountant
How I became a Whistleblower: 

From 1998 to 2004 I was an IT Audit Manager with Lloyds TSB in London and then with Scottish Widows in Edinburgh. In late 2002 I blew the whistle about the Scottish Widows demutualisation (purchase by Lloyds TSB) in 2000 and the way in which the policyholders of Scottish Widows had been tricked out of £1.5bn of the £6bn purchase price that had been 'retained' in a so-called 'additional account' - and which was later 'magicked away' in front of their eyes.

The concealment of huge Guaranteed Annuity Rate (GAR) liabilities (a la Equitable Life) before, during and after the demutualisation was a criminal offence under the Insurance Companies Act 1982 and the Theft Act 1968. In fact, as I later found out, the GAR liabilities which brought down Equitable Life and which would have brought down Scottish Widows as well (if it had not been 'rescued' by Lloyds TSB - something Lloyds TSB were later to repeat with the disastrous takeover of HBOS) were merely the tip of an iceberg of GAR liabilities across the life insurance industry in the UK amounting to £15bn (a loss to policyholders that has now grown to £40bn).

What happened next: 

Within a month of my whistleblowing I was suspended and subjected to over 30 allegations of misconduct, which the bank later acknowledged were false, and an investigation which went on for over a year (during which I had several emergency admissions to hospital with suspected heart attacks) and then sacked in early 2004 in blatant breach of the bank's own rules (the bank had called in the Group Fraud and Security Dept to try and scare me out of the company but they eventually said that the allegations against me were unfounded).

I lost my job, my home, my wife and family, my health and my career prospects. I became drug dependent (tranquilizers and sleeping pills) and suicidal. I was so ill that I was unable to take Lloyds TSB to court until 2008.

Now, after four years of delaying tactics by the bank, during which I have been continued to be unemployed, we have just had a preliminary hearing in the county court. The bank has tried to brand me as a obsessive loony (a common tactic used against whistleblowers) by getting a tame psychiatrist to testify in court. The battle goes on. All the regulatory authorities I approached about the matter (FSA, ICAEW, AADB, police, Parliamentary Ombudsman and so on) refused to pursue it (a superintendent in the police told me - and I have this on tape - that the matter was too big for them to investigate).

What I do now: 

My case against Lloyds TSB for harassment, personal injury, negligence and breach of contract is now in the Court of Appeal (that court tried to kick my appeal out even before it started - until I pointed out two decisions of their own court which proved that my appeal was correctly made to that court).

My concerns about the Scottish Widows demutualisation and the failure (refusal) of the regulators to investigate (in the same way they have failed to pursue the bankers who caused the banking crash - and their auditors) have now been dwarfed by my shock (and that is the right word) at the wholesale corruption which exists in the legal system in this country (up to and including judicial murder).

From what I have seen (and people I have come to know) there are many people who have been far more badly treated by the legal system in this country than myself - driven to suicide, mental and physical breakdown, bankruptcy, homelessness and family breakdown (Google 'legal abuse syndrome').

Whistleblowers UK has quite simply saved my life because I have realised that I am not alone. I wish them well and will do what I can to help.