Tyrone businessman urges others to ‘tell their bank stories’ after explosive documentary

John Conway of Cookstown firm Meteor Electric, speaks to BBC Spotlight reporter Mandy McAuley
John Conway of Cookstown firm Meteor Electric, speaks to BBC Spotlight reporter Mandy McAuley

The Bank of Ireland has questioned the validity of CCTV footage secretly recorded by Mid Ulster businessman John Conway when his company, Meteor Electric, collapsed six years ago.

The recordings were the subject of an explosive BBC Spotlight programme and were made after the bank sent officials to its offices to chase up money that the business and the bank were owed.

The footage shows how one employee was secretly filmed discussing a fraudulent insurance claim as a way to recoup losses surrounding a collapsed business.

The employee, Kelley Toner, who subsequently left the bank, was filmed saying: “All I am going to say, you will be visiting me in prison.”

Speaking after the Spotlight programme was aired, Mr Conway said: “CCTV footage from Meteor Electric premises which was provided to Bank of Ireland shows a member of staff admitting telling lies, joking about calling a debtor who is in the process of taking his mother for chemotherapy treatment and potentially committing fraud. Despite this, the bank have failed to offer any apology and hide behind a smokescreen of ongoing legal activity. Bank of Ireland have never acknowledged any wrong doing on their part or that of their employees nor has any member of the bank apologised for the treatment received by Meteor and my family.”

The Cookstown businessman said, in relation to allegations of fraud made against him by the bank, “ongoing litigation will provide me with a welcome opportunity to demonstrate that these allegations...are wholly without foundation”. He urged anyone in a similar position to “come forward and tell their story”.

“Only by speaking together will this activity cease”, added Mr Conway.

In a statement, a Bank of Ireland spokesman said: “The allegations made by Mr Conway continue to be subject to ongoing legal proceedings before the courts in Northern Ireland between Mr Conway and the Bank. Mr Conway’s allegations are all denied and are being fully defended by the Bank.”

The Bank added: “Mr Conway has provided the media with secretly recorded video footage of Bank employees engaged in the collection of the book debts which the Bank purchased from Meteor. The only video footage seen by the Bank is highly edited and was made after Meteor entered liquidation. It is overlaid with commentary that is highly selective and out of context. The Bank has requested a copy of the full and unedited footage, but to date Mr Conway has failed to provide same.”