Given the view of bankers at the moment, it is never a surprise to read a story about a banker being charged with fraudulent activity. It used to be that the average man or woman had respect for the banking institutions, but this is clearly not the case in the current climate. Alongside politicians, bankers are amongst the most vilified people in the country at the moment, and both of these people have been at the sharp end of many attacks but political activists of late, including Russell Brand.
It is not as if people are going to forget that it was the major banking institution that was largely behind the economic clump that Britain has suffered, but many people will be quite happy to see these professionals put under the spotlight and made to squirm a little bit more.
One thing that will annoy plenty of people though is the fact that not many bankers have been forced to pay a penance or face property justice for their actions. Comparisons are regularly made with the treatment of people committing minor crimes to the way that people who have been involved with huge fraudulent activity, losing millions, and there is a lot of anger about the difference in the sentences handed out.
This anger has once again come to the fore with news that a banker has avoided a prison sentence, even though he has been found guilty of property fraud which came in at £3.5m. To add further fuel to the anger that many people feel, the banker in question has been involved with a controversial mortgage deal for a football club. In Britain, if there is a football angle, there is always a bigger chance of people taking an interest and when it comes to impacting on a local club or the team in the community, it affects people more. Football is something that matters a great deal to many people and when you have bankers causing trouble for football teams, public sympathy is in short supply.
Andrew Ratnage ensured that two separate loans, totalling £3.5m, made its way from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to the former owner of Hull City, Russell Bartlett, back in 2007. At this time, there were shares in the Stadium Management Company (SMC) which were transferred over to a holding firm which had just been set up by Bartlett. The firm was set up to receive these loans and this funding played a key role in Bartlett taking over the club.
Hull City are not impressed with Ratnage
The most recent accounts of SMC, has seen the present owner of the club, Assem Allam, himself a man who is not universally loved by the Hull support, raise criticisms of the local city council in Hull. Allam, who caused Hull fans to be angered with his plans to rebrand the club as the Tigers, believes that the local council should have been more proactive in preventing the deal from taking place.
The reasoning behind this claim was down to the fact that shares were transferred to a holding company which held no assets and which had no trading history. These are valid points, and there needs to be a greater level of diligence when activities like this take place because it so often ends badly.
Allam stated; “The loans were advanced to the company and taken out almost immediately and the security given with no obvious benefit to the SMC.”
It is believe that Allam, and Ehab his son, who are currently the only directors of SMC, were looking to dispute the liability they held for the loan repayments that were outstanding. This arose when they discovered that Ratnage was facing fraud charges in a separate case. The duo moved away from this course of action though and have reached an agreement with RBS and have decided to fulfil the repayment elements of the loans the company inherited.
Ratnage pled guilty in November 2014 to one count of fraud, three counts of obtaining a service by deception and seven counts of false accounting. He was sentenced to a 20 month jail sentence, although this sentence has been suspended for two years. Ratnage has also been instructed to undertake 300 hours of unpaid community work.
Like many people in his position, Ratnage was earning an impressive wage, with The Old Bailey hearing how Ratnage, and the boss he worked under, Raymond Pask, both enjoyed salaries in excess of £100,000 each year. However, the duo decided that they would like to supplement their income and they devised a mortgage scam. The duo initiated a number of fake firms in the name of family members of Pask and then submitted loan applications to allow them to refurbish properties and then sell these properties for a profit.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 8 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.