Suspicions grow as Royal Bank of Scotland refuses to hand over records to Canadian authorities
Libor investigation spreads to encompass RBS misreporting in Yen
Source claims Treasury behind refusal
Following its recent highly-convenient and lucrative glitch, the New York Times this morning reports that RBS is battling to stop Canadian regulators from having access to its files, in a case seeking evidence of false Libor reporting. Ottowan Court records show that the bank bossed by Simon Hester is refusing to turn over crucial information to Canadian regulators. Slog sources in the UK have been filling in some of pieces of what looks increasingly like a potentially revealing jigsaw.
The Slog has been on the case of RBS pretty much since the day Freddie Badloss tried to buy ABNAmro. The mess internally was never properly cleared up, the bank still has radioactive exposure to South and East European loans: plus, the Government (more in terms of Whitehall than Westminster) has been devious bordering on mendacious about the state it’s in.
Just to put this into some kind of perspective – and bring the ginormous bill up to date – the National Audit Office (NAO) points out the following:
“Unless the shares in RBS and Lloyds Banking Group start paying substantial dividends, the Government as a whole will make annual cash losses on the support once the cost of borrowing the money used to purchase the shares and provide the loans is taken into account,” it says. Many of us insisted this was the case from Day One, as a counterpoint to Alistair Darling’s ridiculous lies about the taxpayer “coming out of this with a substantial profit”. In fact, we lose over £2bn on the deal every year, while our continuing support and liabilities remain astronomical: cash injections into RBS in the last fiscal came to £66bn, and ldebt guarantees are still over £75bn. We have (Sir) Fred to thank for this, the removal of whose knighthood caused a storm of protest from the bankers’ pr machine, with the usual ‘Shows Britain isn’t open for business” bollocks. No chaps, it showed that Britain is not up for knighting idiots who take the piss.
Talk to Treasury and senior Tory sources privately, and they will admit that the Coalition is desperate to offload the Scottish Money-pit. The Arabs and Indians have been tried, and all walked away the minute even cursory due diligence was undertaken. This is for one simple reason: RBS should be renamed UXB: it is an explosion just waiting for someone to cut a wire.
The recent ‘glitch’ remains, in my view, strong evidence that a wire was cut in the Natwest/Ulster region of Fred’s one-time gargantuan Empire of Dick-fantasy recently. The chances of one glitch (a) affecting so much for so long (b) running across all three banks and (c) only ever working in favour of RBS cashflows are not high. But to then blame one Indian engineer for every “cheque’s-in-the-post” trick tried on by the bank during that period isn’t even good spin: it’s a derisory explanation for what happened….and it ‘accidentally’ handed £80bn of cash-flow breathing space to a brand that has been hiding its massive exposures for three years.
But this new Canadian demand for transparency goes right to the root of the bank/politics marriage in the UK for one reason above all others: the Government – i.e., us – owns 82% of the bank. Thus, whatever Simon Hester says, Westminster and Whitehall have potential blood on their hands in all this: if they tried to avoid that, then they’d be even madder that Gordon was. So by definition, Camerlot must be involved. If RBS falls over, then the game’s up for our banking system. And if incriminatory and/or financially devastating documents were pulled out and held up to the light by the Canadian regulatory authorities, then the Government would very probably be shown to have stuffed more money in than they admit, or used it as a vehicle for Libor massage, or written off some biggies hidden away somewhere, or…oh, come on – we all know, the list of potential foul play is endless….and all of it equally likely.
While very happy to pile in and box Barclays’ ears (rarely was such a thing more deserved) the Coalition has been very squeamish about handing out the same treatment to RBS. Humiliating Barclays is a relatively safe vote-winner and unlikely to have directly serious consequences; doing that to RBS right now would kill it….and reveal how the Government behaves when it suddenly becomes a banker. This would explain why the bank now insists that sharing the documents demanded by the Canadians would amount to an “unreasonable search and seizure” and violate its “privilege against self-incrimination.”
More bollocks, of course – because the focus of the Canadian investigation – while it concerns Libor misreporting – is on the Libor rates in Japan’s currency – the Yen.
lying working for RBS Canada are pretending claim that the Canadian operation does not have access to the material in question, and that “it cannot be transferred”.
And yet more double-bollocks: the Canadian outfit holds the Yen documentation, and there is no international client confidentiality involved in releasing it. As the NYT succinctly points out:
‘The [legal] argument is at odds with the aggressive approach British lawmakers have taken toward the Libor scandal. That the British government has a controlling stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland — and has not shied away from imposing its will on the bank — only adds to the curious standoff. In recent months, the government has moved to rein in executive compensation and curtail the bank’s risky businesses.’
Or put another way, RBS is in the doo-doo, and up to its neck in the Libor scam…in which, by being the owner, the British Government is directly implicated.
I am still trying to stand up the tip that the Coalition and the Treasury are intimately involved in the refusal to comply with Canadian requests. If you can corroborate that in any way, the address as always is firstname.lastname@example.org.