As the bank holiday arrived Clifford Chance announced it found “no evidence” to support the claims that RBS set out to defraud their business customers. Many claim that both the timing and the approach to the review findings simply add up to ‘whitewash’…
The bank, which is 81 percent-owned by the government, commissioned the review after government adviser Lawrence Tomlinson accused RBS of pushing struggling small businesses into its “turnaround” unit, GRG, so it could charge higher fees and take control of
At Berg we have recieved over 150 complaints from businesses affected by RBS & GRG behaviour, with many businesses being pushed into administration by the bank.
Berg Managing Partner Alison Loveday spoke to the Financial Times, Mail on Sunday, Reuters, The Huffington Post, IFA Magazine amongst others as they called for an explanation of the Clifford Chance findings. It is clear that there are a number of pieces of
evidence that have not been taken into account in the Clifford Chance Review. Alison explained “Whilst Clifford Chance has called into question some of the practices undertaken by GRG staff, the investigation itself seems to have missed the opportunity to
really uncover what was happening in GRG” commenting that ‘Berg has clients who had viable businesses, that were forced into GRG (Global Restructuring Group) by the bank and believes the system taken by Clifford Chance was flawed. Berg actually offered to
submit information to Clifford Chance to help the investigation, with no response. It seems they were closing their eyes to the evidence.”
RBS paid Clifford Chance £1.5m for the 60-page review. The law firm has worked for RBS before. But the bank said the lawyers on the review had not worked for it.
Clifford Chance said it found:
● No evidence that the bank had deliberately charged interest and fees that it knew a customer could not afford.
● No evidence of West Register identifying properties which it wanted to acquire or procuring their acquisition.
● No files that fitted the description of the bank “engineering” a default or “artificially distressing” a customer
● No evidence on the files that it reviewed that the bank exerted undue influence on external valuers in order to procure a covenant breach.
● No evidence that the bank sought additional equity, guarantees or other forms of security in circumstances where it intended to stop supporting any of these customers.
● No evidence that the bank “lowballed” bids to customers in the hope or expectation of acquiring properties at a low price.
Berg will continue to support those who are affected by RBS & GRG and hope to see further cases turned around like the Hockins Case, which was a landmark victory for the family run business and for businesses in administration everywhere.
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