A UK businessman hired a private investigator to track down British TV presenter Noel Edmonds at his North Auckland home claiming he owes him money.
But Edmonds, known for his TV presenting roles on Deal or No Deal and Noel’s House Party, says he hasn’t been hiding in New Zealand and denies owing the money.
Arron Banks, known for his role in the UK’s Leave.EU campaign in 2015, claims Edmonds owes him NZ$2.7 million after he took out an insurance policy from his firm The Legal Protection Group to cover his legal fees if he lost his battle with Lloyds Banking Group.
If he won his legal battle to recover millions of pounds from the bank- Banks claims he did – then Edmonds was obliged to pay out, he claims.
“We know he owes quite a lot of money so we are going to have to pursue him for it,” Banks told the Herald from the UK.
“It’s a relatively straightforward thing. He took out the insurance, he was obligated to pay the money if he won, which he did, and he couldn’t have proceeded with the case without it. Essentially he would have to pay the case himself.”
Banks hired a private detective to track down where Edmonds was living, claiming he was being evasive and planned to serve legal documents on him this week.
But Edmonds strongly denies the claims and told the Herald Banks “never paid a penny” towards his legal costs.
“Given his public persona, if he’d offered I would have declined.”
Edmonds said there also hadn’t been any full and final settlement of his claim against Lloyds Bank for direct and consequential losses after he claimed his business, Unique Group, was destroyed by criminal bankers.
“I and other victims, supported by the UK All Party Parliamentary Group are now having their cases considered by an independent panel chaired by the former High Court Judge Sir David Foskett.”
Edmonds said he was confident the panel would arrive on fair decisions on the payment of losses “without the need for any victims to resort to legal proceedings”.
Banks said he thought Edmonds was being deliberately evasive and now he had located where Edmonds was living, his team was in the process of serving the papers on him this week.
However, Edmonds rubbished Banks’ claims that he was hiding out saying their time in New Zealand had been well documented.
“Our love and appreciation for Kiwis and this wonderful country has been widely covered by the Herald, TV and Radio shows, magazines and online articles. Hardly the conduct of someone trying to hide.”
He said and his wife Liz decided to move to New Zealand in 2015 – well before his bank manager and his associates were jailed. They eventually immigrated to New Zealand last year and during lockdown set up 100 online community radio station called Positivity Radio.
The self-funded radio stations are aimed at helping local communities and businesses and Edmonds said he had been publicly thanked for this and personally welcomed to New Zealand by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Banks is also no stranger to New Zealand and he and his colleague Andy Wigmore – dubbed the Bad Boys of Brexit due to their role in the UK’s Leave campaign in the run-up to the Brexit vote – are helping NZ First with its election campaign this year.
Banks also spent six months living in Auckland earlier this year.