Jason Costain led the fraud analysis and threat management team at NatWest
NatWest’s fraud prevention boss has quit his job after working part-time at a law firm to file claims from fraud victims against banks such as NatWest. That’s what This is Money can reveal.
Jason Costain was head of fraud prevention at major bank NatWest and was often quoted in the press as a high-profile employee.
However, he quietly left his role in 2023 after the bank took “appropriate internal action” after discovering he had helped the fraud department of Liverpool-based law firm CEL Solicitors.
According to a Supreme Court ruling in June 2023, NatWest’s fraud boss was allegedly due to receive a £20,000 cash payment from CEL while he was still employed at NatWest as head of fraud strategy and relationship management.
High Court judge Bever ruled that CEL boss Paul Hampson “on the balance of probabilities” asked an employee to set aside £20,000 in cash for Costain, although there is no clear evidence this ever happened .
Hampson claims that Costain was never paid by CEL, that he never gave NatWest information to the law firm and that everything was fine.
CEL specializes in, among other things, making claims on behalf of fraudsters.
The exact nature of what Costain did for CEL between November 2020 and mid-2021 is unclear. Supreme Court Justice Adrian Bever said the law firm had “not provided me with a full picture of its dealings with Mr Costain”.
However, according to Supreme Court documents, Costain was involved in training CEL staff, creating fraud information content and answering human resources questions.
The whole time he was working part-time, as he was still employed by NatWest.
Costain also told This is Money that he had never accepted money from CEL and had never discussed NatWest data with the law firm.
However, the court heard that Hampson emailed Costain in November 2020 and asked him to provide the law firm with “a huge list of breaches and omissions by the bank”.
Costain sent messages to a WhatsApp group of CEL employees called ‘Golden Ticket’ saying: “If banks are forced to refund the full amount, we are essentially in a repeat of PPI.” We can make any claim edit! “The damage is £0.5 billion and we are looking for someone to manage their claim.”
Those court papers go on to say that Costain was once offered the position of CEL fraud leader by Hampson, who claims he met him at a social event.
Costain was “often in CEL’s office” and was involved in training staff, creating scam content for CEL’s website and answering questions from employees, former CEL finance director Thomas Blanchfield said in court papers.
Blanchfield added that Costain had access to hundreds of CEL files, many of which were successful claims against NatWest.
Another former CEL employee, Mark Montaldo, head of the litigation department, says Costain served as a consultant for CEL and visited the office in 2021, according to court documents.
Blanchfield complained to NatWest and the Solicitors Regulation Authority about Costain in January 2023.
In the Supreme Court judgment, Blanchfield claims Hampson asked him to arrange a cash payment of £20,000 to Costain.
Hampson said Costain only provided CEL information about the banking sector in general and never about NatWest and denied ever making the £20,000 payment.
The case between CEL and former employees was heard at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre
Judge Bever added that the relationship between Costain and CEL was “unorthodox” and that “it is difficult to understand why Mr Costain devoted time and energy to CEL when he did not appear to receive any remuneration for doing so”.
Costain was offered a payment package of 20 percent of the CEL fraud division’s profits, later increased to 35 percent, but he never accepted the offer and continued to work at NatWest.
Judge Bever said in his June ruling: “Shortly before sentencing I was informed that Mr Costain was no longer employed by NatWest.”
A NatWest spokesman said: “We are aware of legal proceedings between third parties and the conduct of a bank employee at the time was relevant to these proceedings.”
“We take such matters very seriously and have taken appropriate internal action as soon as the bank became aware of them.”
“The verdict in the case did not establish that confidential bank customer information was disclosed to CEL by our former employee.”
Costain’s LinkedIn profile says he left NatWest in June 2023 after five years and four months with the company.
Hampson said Costain earned “£250,000 a year” at NatWest, according to court documents, although the former bank employee denies this.
In January 2023, Blanchfield and Montaldo resigned from CEL, in part due to concerns about Costain and also CEL’s financial condition.
The two then founded their own law firm, MTCC Solutions. However, CEL took Blanchfield, Montaldo and MTCC to court, claiming that the duo breached their contractual and legal obligations by forming MTCC.
The lawsuit failed and MTCC has now been dissolved, but the Supreme Court ruling on June 29, 2023 exposed all of the above allegations about Costain.
A CEL spokesman said: “CEL held exploratory discussions with Mr Costain as a senior member of its team supporting victims of online and banking fraud.” All discussions were strictly confidential.
“As part of these discussions, Mr Hampson requested and Mr Costain shared information about bank fraud and regulation – all of which was publicly available.”
The defendants’ evidence confirmed that Mr Costain never disclosed confidential information to CEL. The judge acknowledged that Mr Costain was never paid for these conversations.
Costain said: “The trial took place without my involvement.” I was not called as a witness in the trial and was not a party to the proceedings.
“The judge concluded that there was no evidence that I received any money from CEL Solicitors at all and I am happy to confirm that this was not the case.” I was job hunting in 2020 and worked with CEL Solicitors a possible position was discussed.
“As the defendants confirmed in the 2023 litigation, I did not discuss confidential information about NatWest with CEL Solicitors.” “We discussed information that was publicly available.”
Judge Bever said in his judgment on June 29 that he had “the impression that I was only made aware of the tip of a large iceberg” in relation to Mr Costain’s relationship with CEL and Mr Hampson and that “I do not accept that. “that Mr Hampson has been open and frank with me regarding CEL’s relationship with Mr Costain’.
The judge added that Costain had been “central” to the litigation but that he was “not invited by CEL to provide a witness statement or give evidence” and had “remained very much in the background”.
Blanchfield said: “The contents of the judgment speak for themselves, HHJ Beaver’s judgment has been confirmed in our favour.”
A spokesman for Knights Law Firm, which represents Montaldo, said: “Mr Montaldo has nothing to add to the verdict, which he believes speaks for itself.” “He looks forward to putting the matter behind him and continuing his successful legal career.”
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