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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect