Crosby pensions call is labelled a ‘witch hunt’

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AN ANALYST at Standard Life Investments (SLI) yesterday labelled calls for former directors of HBOS to hand back their pensions as a “witch hunt” and warned that “politicians cannot act like saloon bar gunslingers”.

Euan Stirling, investment director of UK equities for one of Britain’s largest investors, accused Vince Cable of indulging in “empty rhetoric” after the Business Secretary pledged to see if he could ban former HBOS chief executive Sir James Crosby, his successor Andy Hornby and former chairman Lord Stevenson as company directors.

A furore arose after a parliamentary committee claimed Crosby was the “architect of the strategy that set the course for disaster” at the failed bank. The report was met with fury by a number of MPs who called for Crosby to hand over his £700,000 a year pension after the bank required a £20.5 billion taxpayer-funded bail-out.

Stirling said that although he was “no fan of failed bankers walking away with millions”, he added: “What we’ve got now is a political witch hunt on our hands. Politicians cannot act like saloon bar gunslingers, they have to follow the law.

“If there is a potential to prosecute either because these people are unfit or because they have been involved in wrongful trading, then they should follow the true course of the law and allow that to happen.”