LV chairman oversaw 161 botched Post Office Horizon prosecutions: Fresh shame for Cook as he seeks to sell mutual 

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The businessman behind the controversial sale of the LV oversaw the prosecution of 161 innocent postmasters during his time at the helm of the post office.

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Alan Cook, now LV president, owned the post office between 2006 and 2010 during the height of his Horizon scandal.

The debacle saw more than 700 postmasters charged with theft and accounting fraud, when in fact the missing amounts were due to a bug in the Horizon IT system.

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Alan Cook, now president of LV, was the owner of the post office between 2006 and 2010 during the height of his Horizon scandal.

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Now a Freedom of Information request shows that 161 postmasters were prosecuted under Cook’s leadership. Of them, 141 were convicted and 57 were imprisoned.

It took nearly two decades for the victims to clear their names, and hundreds are still fighting for compensation. Lawmakers have called the scandal one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in Britain ever.

Despite his role in the post office, Cook became the chairman of 178-year-old Mutual LV in 2017.

Over the past year, he has come under criticism for agreeing to sell the insurer to private equity Shark Bain Capital.

The business, which dates back to 1843, is owned by its customers and run for their benefit.

If Bain is successful in buying LV when the deal is put up for a member’s vote next week, the firm will instead be mistaken for a profit by its cash-starved new owner.

LV members said they were ‘disappointed and bewildered’ that Cook was allowed to head a financial institution following his involvement in the post office.

Victim Joe Hamilton, who was sacked from the post office in 2006 and sentenced for piracy in 2008, said: ‘I won’t trust him, I don’t trust anyone anymore, what I’ve done’ Am. I think all these senior people are involved in this.

Labor MP Dame Margaret Hodge said: ‘It beggars belief that someone with their record could be hired to do another job anytime.

‘One has to wonder if his behavior in the LV reflects his record at the post office.’

Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrek said: ‘It seems Mr Cook was one of the driving forces behind the biggest miscarriage of justice ever and one of the most terrifying deals ever done at the post office.’

The Post Office began using the Horizon system in 1999, and closed a string of lawsuits in the early 2000s.

Cook’s successor in the Post Office, Paula Venells, was forced to resign as director at Morrison and Dunlam, step down as minister for the Church of England, and apologize for the postmasters’ ‘suffering’.

When the Court of Appeal overturned 39 postmasters’ convictions this year, it said the post office was aware there were ‘serious issues regarding the credibility of Horizon’, but continued to bring criminal charges.

Retired High Court judge Sir Wayne Williams is leading an independent investigation into the scandal, probing what the business and its former leaders knew, but Cook has not called to provide evidence.

Labor MP Gareth Thomas, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mutuals, said: ‘Cook was always the wrong man to lead the LV, he has no mutual experience. This latest revelation only confirms it.

‘He was certainly using Horizon to cut costs, he was driving its expansion inside the post office. He defended its use in front of Parliament and selection committees and never apologized.

A spokesperson for LV said: ‘While it would not be appropriate for LV to comment on post office matters relating to the tenure of Alan Cook, I can assure you that he has deep sympathy for the postmasters who were unfairly prosecuted. has gone.

‘Also it supports the recently announced Post Office Horizon IT investigation as it seeks to provide important answers to all those affected.’

LV. raise your voice

We are encouraging LV members, customers, or others who wish to retain their reciprocal position to write it, rather than having it purchased by private equity.

You can use the words from the letter printed in the City page of the Granthshala newspaper (pictured here).

We’ve included words for you to copy and paste in one letter below.

Send this to Alan Cook, LV= President, Liverpool Victoria, County Gates, Bournemouth, BH1 2NF

Dear Alan Cook,

I, the undersigned, urge you to reconsider your decision to sell LV= to Bain Capital and instead retain its reciprocal position.

,

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