Natwest’s former head of fraud prevention quietly left his role earlier this year after the group found out he was working with a law firm specialising in bringing scam victim claims against banks.
A Natwest spokesperson told City A.M. that the bank took “appropriate internal action” against Jason Costain over his work with Liverpool-based CEL Solicitors.
Costain was likely in line for a £20,000 payment from CEL while still employed by Natwest, according to a judgment handed down in June and first reported by This is Money (Daily Mail) on Tuesday.
Paul Hampson, a director at CEL, said his firm never paid Costain and that he never shared confidential information about Natwest. Costain reiterated these claims to the Mail.
Costain was involved with CEL between November 2020 and mid-2021, according to High Court documents.
He told a Whatsapp group of CEL staff that banks could be liable for major refunds similar to PPI claims.
Former CEL finance director Thomas Blanchfield said in court filings that Costain had access to hundreds of the firm’s files, including successful claims against Natwest.
Judge Bever noted in his June judgment that he learned Costain was “no longer employed by Natwest” shortly before handing down the ruling.
“I have been left with the impression that I have only been made aware of the tip of a large iceberg in terms of Mr Costain’s relationship with CEL and Mr Hampson,” he said.
“I do not accept that Mr Hampson has been open and frank with me in relation to CEL’s relationship with Mr Costain.”
A Natwest spokesperson told City A.M.: “We are aware of legal proceedings between third parties and that the conduct of a then bank employee was relevant to those proceedings.
“We take such matters very seriously and appropriate internal action was taken once the bank became aware of them.
“The judgment in the proceedings did not make any finding that bank customer confidential information had been shared by our former employee with CEL.”
A spokesperson for CEL told the Mail: “CEL had exploratory discussions with Mr Costain as a senior hire to its team helping victims of online and banking fraud. All discussions were subject to stringent confidentiality.
“As part of these talks, Mr Hampson requested, and Mr Costain shared, information about banking fraud and regulation – all of which was in the public domain.
“The defendants’ evidence confirmed Mr Costain never shared any confidential information with CEL. The judge accepted Mr Costain was never paid for these discussions.”
CEL did not respond to a request for comment by City A.M., while Costain has been approached for comment.