RBS battler welcomes change in tone from FCA boss after long-awaited report stalls againComments Off on RBS battler welcomes change in tone from FCA boss after long-awaited report stalls again
A BUSINESSMAN suing RBS for £128 million has backed the new boss of the Financial Conduct Authority to beef up its much-delayed report into the lender’s controversial turnaround unit.
Neil Mitchell, who is suing the state-owned lender in the High Court, believes FCA boss Andrew Bailey and newly-installed figures at the Treasury are paving the way for harsher criticism of RBS by pausing the publication of the long-awaited investigation.
Bailey told a committee of MPs the report was “heavily under way” despite the FCA having received a draft version in April. He said it would be published this year; campaigners say this is the seventh time it has been delayed.
“It suggests the report will not be a whitewash and that proper redress will be put in place,” Mitchell said. He is suing RBS over allegations the bank’s turnaround arm unlawfully conspired with US private-equity fund Cerberus and KPMG to force a fire sale of Mitchell’s FTSE-listed software business Torex Retail, a claim all deny. A trial is expected to start next February.
The FCA kicked off a probe into the unit, the Global Restructuring Group, in early 2014, after a damning independent report by entrepreneur Lawrence Tomlinson. It alleged the bank deliberately bankrupted some small businesses to make more money out of them, which RBS denies. The bank subsequently commissioned an internal report and found no evidence of fraud.
A letter sent to Mitchell on behalf of the Government said Theresa May’s new administration “sympathises with the difficult situation” of businesses affected by the allegations made against GRG.
Mitchell said it was “heartening” to receive the letter. The FCA and RBS declined to comment. A Treasury spokeswoman said the allegations made against RBS “are very serious”.
“If the findings of the review reveal issues which come within the FCA’s remit, the FCA can consider taking further action,” she added.