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Probe into Lloyds' handling of HBOS fraud unlikely to conclude before 2020

An independent investigation sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group PLC into whether it properly probed and reported the £245 million fraud at HBOS PLC after acquiring it in January 2009 is likely to continue until 2020, a source told Reuters.

A spokeswoman for Lloyds said the review, being conducted by retired judge Linda Dobbs, will be fully supported by the bank for as long as needed to "complete its important work," according to the March 14 report.

The source told Reuters a team of more than 30 lawyers is going through "hundreds of thousands" of documents to determine when Lloyds' senior executives became aware of the fraud and how they reacted to it. The inquiry is already interviewing victims of the fraud and executive interviews are slated to begin in the fall, the source added.

The delay is prompting concern that regulators should have taken the lead on the investigation, Reuters reported, citing Kevin Hollinrake, the chair of the cross-party parliamentary group for fair banking and the lawmaker who instigated the probe in November 2018.

In November 2018, Lloyds apologized to and settled with former senior risk officer Sally Masterton, who blew the whistle on her former bosses, accusing them of hiding and failing to disclose the HBOS fraud.