A SUNDERLAND businessman who went bankrupt and lost his pub empire is set to sue the bank he claims was responsible for his downfall for £17million.
Tony Griffiths says he is preparing legal action against HSBC by claiming they triggered a series of events that led to the collapse of his company.
The former pub boss, whose wife Lorraine bought him a Lordship as a present, said he is determined to get back on his feet.
He claims HSBC have admitted his companies had been mis-sold three interest rate hedging products, which had not been properly explained and breached the Financial Conduct Authority sales review principles.
The bank has offered £780,000 compensation, which covers the amount he paid into the products, plus interest, but he says they should reimburse him for the embarrassment of going bust as well as lost earnings from his bars going under.
Mr Griffiths, known as Chocolate to friends, owned bars including Sunderland’s Glass Spider, Bud Bigallows and the Queen Vic in Roker with his firms Wylam Developments Ltd and Bar Operations Ltd.
He said: “I was kicking and screaming and protesting to the bank long before the companies folded but it was falling on deaf ears.
“They could have stopped all of this happening if they had not sold me these toxic products.
“I never wanted to take them out and it was never fully explained to me what it was.
“I was steamrollered into administration not by poor management but because I was strangled by trying to pay for these financial products.”
The businessman, who is now discharged from bankruptcy, said he believes the businesses could still be going strong if he had not taken out the products.
His wife Lorraine has recently reopened Sunderland’s The Point bar complex.
A spokesman for HSBC said: “The bank does not discuss individual customers, due to customer confidentiality.
“We are committed to ensuring customers get a fair and reasonable outcome, and we look to finalise cases where redress is due as quickly as we can.
“Our review of the sale of interest rate swaps is overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority and an independent skilled person who reviews the detail of each and every case individually to ensure this happens.”