A fair pack of greedy liars

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14 November 2006

More than 150,000 mostly poor families have lost savings of between £400 and £2,000 as a result of the "collapse" of Farepack, the Christmas hamper company. And though nobody mentions it, 20 Farepack workers have lost their jobs.

"Sir" Clive Thompson, ex-Rentokil CEO, who is a millionaire in his own right, and director of Farepack's parent company, EHR, blames Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS), for not extending the company's overdraft. Instead, thanks to him, the savers' money was all eaten up.

And while Farepack was going under, Thompson still pocketed his £100,000 consultancy fee; the chief executive took his £275,000 salary, and majority shareholder Nicholas Gilodi-Johnson took his share dividend of £445,000 on top of his £62,000 salary.

In fact EHR, Farepack's parent company has been a front for dodgy acquisitions, and some of those involved gave themselves massive payouts before resigning. The board members of EHR will even have protected pensions! But where is all the money they made on the back of the low paid?

One cannot help be reminded of the Longbridge scandal, because even if the scale is not comparable, the EHR directors are behaving just like the "Phoenix 4". As usual the savings and pensions of the directors of the "parent company" are quite safe and they declare that they are "not responsible" for the collapse of the company they have presided over. Tracing where the money has gone and retrieving it ends up as "impossible".

The government has stepped in... and announced an "official inquiry". MPs have been asked to hand over one month's salary and supermarkets who supplied vouchers have said they will "give something". Never mind the billions that Tesco Sainsbury or even HBOS make in annual profits!

If this latest company collapse shows anything it is that the working class needs to control what the bosses are doing with their money. We need to be able to trace where it goes and what it is used for. Because that would be the only way to get a full "refund" from the shareholders and those greedy, defrauding, parasites who inhabit company boardrooms.