MP Clive Lewis claims there's a cover-up over RBS-GRG

Labour MP Clive Lewis has accused Royal Bank of Scotland executives of "misleading" MPs and blasted the FCA for producing a "sanitised" summary of its internal report on the treatment of business customers by RBS-GRG.

Speaking under Parliamentary Privilege, Lewis revealed he had been handed an redacted version of the FCA's own report, which he claimed challenged the official position of both parties.

Based on his reading of the report, Lewis said he believed RBS executives had "misled the [Treasury] Select Committee in their evidence, and had a stated policy of misleading MPs".

He added: "Far from being isolated incidents of poor governance... this report explicitly states their behaviour was 'systemic and widespread."

Lewis told the House of Commons that one passage of hundreds detailed how a family business was set to "lose their shirts", meaning RBS could get a "chunky equity deal".

The FCA's summary was "what I would politely call sanitised", he added.

Lewis said he hoped to hand the report in its entirety to the Treasury Select Committee, which - under the chairmanship of Conservative MP Nicky Morgan - has been fighting for information on this case for some months.

RBS was not able to comment at the time of publication.

A spokesperson for the FCA said: "The summary was reviewed independently by Andrew Green QC, who was appointed by the Treasury Committee to assess whether it was a fair and balanced summary of the Skilled Person’s Report.

"Andrew Green QC concluded that it was a fair and balanced account of the findings of the Report and closely reflected its tone and narrative. He also concluded that the production of the summary was not a straightforward task and required a considerable exercise of judgment and that the FCA had approached it conscientiously and with success."

In January, owing to pressure from Morgan, the bank released its now-infamous "Just Hit Budget" memo, which advised staff to let customers "hang themselves" and describing some clients as "basket cases: time consuming but remunerative".

In October, FCA boss Andrew Bailey confirmed another “more focused” investigation had begun as it published a summary of a long-withheld skilled person’s report.

The unit has already faced at least four separate investigations by different bodies.

The summary of the report - which was published four years after it was carried out - found that more than a third of the 5,900 SME customers transferred to GRG during the review period "were not viable at or around the time of transfer and could be expected to face insolvency or administration regardless of RBS’s actions".

More to follow...

Full story: MP Clive Lewis claims there's a cover-up over RBS-GRG: City A.M.

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