- The SundayPost.Com By Andrew Picken, 5 July 2015 2.45am.
- PA Archive/Press Association Ima
DISGRACED banker Fred Goodwin is still in the cross hairs of investigators – but a decision on whether he will ever be prosecuted is not imminent.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has revealed a major inquiry into Goodwin and the wider banking sector launched nearly four years ago is nowhere near its end.
She said the inquiry was likely to take “some time to conclude” but confirmed “proceedings will be instructed” if criminality is uncovered.
The Crown Office announced in 2012 that its serious and organised crime division had been secretly conducting a criminal investigation into banking malpractice for some time.
Since then, however, no one has been arrested or charged in connection with the inquiry.
“The Crown Office has advised that the inquiry is complex and the volume of documentation that the investigators are considering is huge,” Ms Sturgeon said in a letter seen by The Sunday Post.
“The inquiry is being conducted by the Serious and Organised Crime Division of the Crown Office under the supervision of the Lord Advocate.
“This involves police, prosecutors and specialist forensic accountants.”
The massive probe was launched in 2011 and later broadened to cover the whole of the banking sector north of the Border.
Ian Fraser – author of the best-selling account of the downfall of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Shredded – said: “The Crown Office inquiry into potential crimes committed by Scottish-based banks and their executives seems to have got precisely nowhere – nobody has been arrested, charged, prosecuted or sentenced.
“Maybe the Crown Office is under-resourced, but all the evidence to date, including what appears to be a
limp-wristed approach to securing necessary documentation from RBS, suggests that they’re just going through the motions.
“Scotland, with its devolved justice system, had a chance to differentiate itself with this probe. So far it has failed.”
Sturgeon’s written response was made in reply to Mr Fraser who suggested the Crown Office investigation was so
high-profile more information about its progress was needed.
The probe was launched after a damning report by the
now-defunct Financial Services Authority on the near-collapse of RBS which blamed a string of “poor management decisions” for the institution’s dramatic fall from grace.
Former Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable has been critical of the Crown Office delay in deciding whether to prosecute former RBS directors, as have campaign groups which believe they were duped into backing a share issue at the bank shortly before it had to be bailed out by the taxpayer.
Last night a spokesman for the Crown Office said: “In the wake of widespread public concern about reported issues with the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Lord Advocate instructed an investigation into the allegations.
“That investigation is being led by the Crown Office Serious and Organised Crime Division with assistance from expert forensic accountants and banking specialists. The investigation is complex. The investigation is ongoing.”