TV property tycoon blames HBOS for bankruptcy

TV property tycoon blames HBOS for bankruptcy


The famous buy to let entrepreneur Grant Bovey has revealed that state-backed bank HBOS is partly to blame for his financial misfortunes, which will see him become bankrupt this week. 

Speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper, he said that he has three High Court writs against him for over £3 million, after his £100 million property empire collapsed with debts of over £50 million last July as the property market underwent the worst downturn in decades.
His company, Imagine Homes, was once the largest buy-to-let business in the UK, and was so lucrative that HBOS became his partner.
Mr Bovey said: “It took £14 million to set up; I raised £1 million myself and borrowed £13 million from the bank. We bought a block of flats and sold them all in no time at all, making a huge profit. It went on like that. Yes, it was crazy money, but this was the property boom. The bank was alongside us. In fact, the more the company grew, the more I was coming under pressure from them to expand more quickly.”
The tycoon, who is married to television presenter Anthea Turner, said that it was HBOS who was pushing the firm to grow. He added: “Of the eight people on the board, three were appointed by HBOS. If anyone was greedy it was the bank.”
Mr Bovey has presided over a range of failed projects in the past but admitted that with the bank on board he felt untouchable. He said: “Some part of me said that if such a massive financial institution was behind me then I could do nothing wrong.”
Despite living in a £6 million Surrey mansion, the failed property entrepreneur has said that he is now entering bankruptcy proceedings as he has no funds left. As his wife was never a director in his business, she is still solvent and bought the luxury home with her money.

Criticised for remaining bullish in the face of tumbling commercial property values and failing to understand the severity of the sector’s crisis, the aggressive property lending undertaken by HBOS no doubt led to its downfall in Autumn 2008, when it had to be taken over by Lloyds TSB and given state funding to keep it afloat.
The bank’s former commercial property director, Peter Cummings, infamously said in February 2008: “Some people look as though they are losing their nerve - beginning to panic, even - in today's testing real estate environment. Not us.”

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