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Wonga name new chairman after fake letter scandal

The new chairman of payday lender Wonga has pledged "significant change" after the firm "made mistakes" in sending out letters from fake lawyers to customers in arrears.

ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills confirmed the appointment, tweeting:

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Wonga appoints former boss of RSA as new Chairman. Andy Haste says he has mandate for "significant change" and that Wonga "made mistakes".

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Andy Haste says he was approached by Greylock - one of Wonga's shareholders - before fake law firm letters made public.

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Andy Haste warns that the changes necessary to win full FCA authorisation will make Wonga "a smaller and less profitable business".

Read: Lawyers call for Wonga to face criminal investigation

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Church of England 'took a year' to sever Wonga ties

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports:

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The Archbishop says Church of England has sold its shares in Wonga - which means it's taken a year to do so since the link was first exposed

Read: Church of England severs ties with payday lending firm Wonga

Wonga: Police 'reassess' possibility of criminal probe

City of London Police said in a statement:

In March 2013 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) met with the City of London Police to consider their (OFT's) investigation into Wonga and whether it should be referred to the National Policing Lead for Fraud.

The interests of the consumer were at the forefront of these discussions and directed the decision that the most appropriate course of action was for the OFT to continue to investigate as regulator focusing on but not limited to the consumer credit act, legal services act, and unfair trading regulations.

Now that the regulator's investigation has concluded and a compensation agreement has been reached with Wonga, the City of London Police will be reassessing whether a criminal investigation is now appropriate.

Read: Lawyers call for Wonga to face criminal investigation

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Lawyers call for Wonga to face criminal investigation

Solicitors across England and Wales are pressing for Wonga to face a criminal investigation over fake legal letters it sent to 45,000 customers.

Read: Police 'decide not to prosecute Wonga'

The Law Society has stepped up pressure for a criminal investigation to be held into Wonga's fake legal letters.
The Law Society has stepped up pressure for a criminal investigation to be held into Wonga's fake legal letters. Credit: PA

Britain's biggest payday lender has agreed to pay £2.6 million compensation over the "misleading debt collection practices," but the Law Society wants the Metropolitan Police to investigate and consider whether any offences, such as blackmail or those under the Solicitors Act, have been committed.

More: Wonga to pay £2.6m compensation over 'legal letters'

Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said: "It seems that the intention behind Wonga's dishonest activity was to make customers believe that their outstanding debt had been passed to a genuine law firm.

"It looks like they also wanted customers to believe that court action undertaken by a genuine law firm would follow if the debt was not repaid."

Police 'decide not to prosecute Wonga'

The Financial Conduct Authority said that it referred Wonga to the police to assess whether the payday lender had committed a criminal offence, but the City of London Police have decided not to proceed with a case, ITV News Editor Jess Brammar has learned:

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We're told Wonga case was referred by the regulator to City of London police for consideration. We understand police decided not to proceed.

Read: FCA refers Wonga case to the police

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