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RBS CEO accused of ‘withholding information’ from MPs

Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Ross McEwan has been accused of misleading a parliamentary committee over possible criminal behaviour by former employees of his firm.

MPs in the Treasury select committee say Mr McEwan “withheld information” from them in January when he denied that he was aware of any criminal activity within the bank by workers in RBS’s Global Restructuring Group (GRG).

The select committee was investigating the bank’s mistreatment of small firms which came to RBS for help after the 2007-8 financial crisis.

Six months later Police Scotland opened a formal criminal investigation into allegations against a former GRG employee.

Mr McEwan, who now risks being hauled in front of MPs again, defended his comments in a letter to Treasury committee chairwoman Nicky Morgan. The executive, who joined RBS in 2012, said the activities in question fell outside the hearing’s official timeframe of 2014-2016.

Ms Morgan said his explanation was “unconvincing” and criticised the “defensive” tone of his letter.

She added: “[The committee] expects clarity and openness from witnesses, and Mr McEwan’s evidence fell short of that standard.”

She warned that the committee “will expect him to tell the whole truth, not an edited version to suit him.”

Labour shadow City minister Jonathan Reynolds said: “RBS should be doing everything it can to provide redress for customers whose lives have been devastated by the actions of GRG. Instead it is choosing not to reveal key information.

“This is why Labour has consistently called for a public, judge-led inquiry into GRG.

“An independent third party is the only way we can achieve proper transparency into the scandal and deliver justice for its victims.

“Ten years on from the financial crisis, it is clear we still have a long way to go to rebuild trust in the sector.”

Lamiat Sabin is Morning Star parliamentary reporter.


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