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RBS faces criminal probe by Serious Fraud Office over claims it forced clients to go bust

Posted on November 27, 2013. Filed under Intelligence & Security News

The Serious Fraud Office has confirmed that it is investigating allegations that the Royal Bank of Scotland defrauded viable SMEs, forcing them to collapse.

The news came in the wake of Lawrence Tomlinson’s report on the bank’s lending to small and medium-sized enterprises published this week which was highly critical of its practices.

“We are aware of the issue and are monitoring the situation,” said a spokeswoman for the SFO. “As far as any criminal investigation is concerned we can neither confirm nor deny this. That is a matter of  standard practice.”

The SFO has received a dossier from Neil Mitchell, a former chief executive of Torex Retail, and interviewed him. He was the whistleblower at the former AIM-listed software company which resulted in jail sentences for two of its former directors for duping shareholders by using false invoices to boost its profits.

Mitchell told the London Evening Standard he had been in regular contact with a senior intelligence officer at the SFO over the behaviour of RBS since November last year and recently made a two-hour presentation to SFO officials.

He believes that while the SFO is looking at his own individual case  surrounding Torex it has also broadened its investigation to look at the alleged wider system of abuse by RBS.Mitchell first aired his concerns over RBS at the bank’s annual meeting last year and has since held talks with its chairman Sir Philip Hampton, who is expected to retire next year.

The bank declined to comment today but sources said it had not been aware of any investigation by the SFO.

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27th November 2013, The Independent