The Royal Bank of Scotland welcomed a report it commissioned by Clifford Chance which found “no evidence” that it tried to systematically defraud small firms.
CEO Ross McEwan said: “We could not let this allegation hang over us. That’s why we acted quickly to appoint Clifford Chance to get to the truth of this claim. We are determined to earn back the trust of our customers.”
The report was commissioned in response to allegations in entrepreneur Lawrence Tomlinson’s report, who accused it of “killing off” small firms managed by its GRG business turnaround unit by adding on fees or pulling lines of credit.
According to Tomlinson, the GRG unit would “manage” firms that weren’t even struggling with their debts and still drive them under in order to seize the profitable businesses’ assets, normally property, at discount prices.
Clifford Chance’s findings, swiftly welcomed by RBS, were condemned by others as a “whitewash”. Alison Loveday, managing partner at independent law firm, Berg, told HuffPostUK: “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.