Minister agreed deal says ex-RBS chief

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Sir Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, who is at the centre of a huge row over huge pension payments, is accusing Lord Myners, the City minister, of agreeing to his deal.

Sir Fred, whose £693,000 annual pension was yesterday condemned by the prime minister and other senior politicians, wrote to Lord Myners refusing to give up any of the money, on the grounds that the Treasury minister himself had signed off on the retirement package.

In a letter seen by the Independent, Sir Fred said Lord Myners had been told about the pension payments and had agreed the deal on the basis the banker would forego other contractual benefits when he stood down last October.

The letter reads:

"Dear Lord Myners

"You telephoned me yesterday and asked me to consider voluntarily taking a material reduction in my pension entitlement as a 'gesture' to acknowledge the level of Government support being made available to RBS. You highlighted that the absence of such a gesture would give rise to significant adverse media comment.

"I outlined to you my view of the matter, but as I had not been expecting your call, and as you expressly requested me to do so, I undertook to reflect on the matter again. You emphasised that I would need to provide you with an answer ahead of the publication of the Group's annual report and financial statements sometime next week.

"It came therefore as something of a surprise to find that both details of forthcoming 2008 financial statement disclosures relating to my pension and the substance of our telephone conversation had been placed in the public domain a few hours after we spoke.

"In the cirumstances, I feel that an earlier response to your request is necessary, and the purpose of this letter is to provide that.

"Whilst my pension is the current focus of attention, there were a number of other aspects of my departure from RBS which need to be considered at the same time, particularly in the context of 'gestures' and appropriate behaviour.

"My contract of employment provided for a 12 month notice period, which I voluntarily waived in October of last year. This amounted to a loss of 1 years' salary, and I discussed this with you at the time, when you indicated that it was both an appropriate and sufficient recognition of the circumstances."