City of London police inquiry adds to RBS investigations

As SFO investigate, bank boss pledges to share £1m report with regulators

The City of London Police is investigating allegations of wrongdoing by Royal Bank of Scotland, it emerged on Wednesday night, adding to the Serious Fraud Office’s inquiry.

The financial capital’s economic crimes department has been examining the bank’s behaviour following at least one complaint from an alleged victim who contacted The Independent. The businessman is in a civil court dispute with the bank over the alleged seizing of his assets and has presented the City of London police with a large dossier of paperwork supporting his case.

News of the widening examination of RBS’s practices came as its chief executive pledged to “fully investigate” what he said were “serious allegations” that the bank defrauded companies that were its clients by forcing them to go bust.

Ross McEwan spoke as it emerged that the case is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office. The allegations were levelled in a sharply critical report by the government adviser Lawrence Tomlinson.

Mr McEwan, who replaced Stephen Hester as chief executive, pledged to “share” the findings of a review he has commissioned into the bank’s business practices which will be led by a regulatory partner at City law firm Clifford Chance. It could cost RBS more than £1m. A spokesperson from the SFO said: “We are aware of the issue and are monitoring the situation. As far as any criminal investigation is concerned we can neither confirm nor deny this. ”

The SFO has received a dossier from and interviewed Neil Mitchell, a former chief executive of Torex Retail. He was the whistleblower at the former AIM-listed software company which resulted in the jail sentences for two of its former directors for duping shareholders by using false invoices to boost its profits. At the time, RBS led its syndicate of lenders. Mr Mitchell said that he had been in regular contact with a senior intelligence officer at the SFO over the behaviour of RBS towards the then reeling company since November last year. Recently he made a two-hour presentation to SFO officials. He believes the squad has broadened its investigation to look at the alleged wider system of abuse by RBS. He aired concerns at the bank’s AGM last year and held talks with chairman Sir Philip Hampton.

Mr McEwan said the Clifford Chance review would be shared with regulatory agencies including the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority: “It is important to note that the most serious allegation that has been made is that RBS conducted a ‘systematic’ effort to profit on the back of our customers when they were in financial distress. We do not believe that this is the case, but it has nonetheless done serious damage to RBS’s reputation. No evidence has been provided for that allegation to the bank. The review will investigate the claim fully and I will report back on its findings.”

Mr Tomlinson said RBS had been “unnecessarily engineering a default” at ailing companies to move them to its Global Reconstruction Group where the bank charged punitive fees, increased its interest rates and seized assets at prices well below their market value.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin visits her 1990s work ‘My Bed’ at Tate Britain in London, where it is back on display from today
artsBut how does the iconic work stand up, 16 years on?
Life and Style
life + style
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Client Services Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor