SBCB quick to respond following Mark Macaskill article
Regarding FBI probe into RBS story in The Sunday Times today 25/10/2015: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/scotland/article1624243.ece
SBCB decided not to publish today’s (25/10/15) Sunday Times story about the FBI investigation into RBS.
However considering the gravity of the story, we further thought that perhaps we should be open about how the story came about and that rather than not show what has already been published by The Sunday Times, we thought it would be best to point out the following communication with reporter Mark Macaskill before he published the story, which demonstrates SBCB’s position as of Saturday evening
The story is below and we would like readers comments as to whether The Sunday Times story is accurate according to our bullet points and Sunday Times article below?
Our Readers can add a comment at the bottom of the post.
From: Andy Keats [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 24 October 2015 16:46
To: ‘Macaskill, Mark’
Subject: RE: Sunday Times
Just to be clear,
- I did not claim that the FBI approached me personally and have never said anything like that. SBCB is the main thrust, not me.
- My complaints are co-incidental to our investigations. I just happen to have had my RBS central customer file butchered along with the call transcript.
- I did not help Lawrence Tomlinson compile his report in November 2013. I did discuss various aspects of criminal behaviour with him that perhaps opened his thinking to wider possibilities than contractual dispute.
- I have not spoken to the FBI about my personal files. ( I am not saying that they have not been discussed globally by others but not by me.)
- I have not personally been invited to a face to face meeting with the FBI. This is not all about me. I am not saying that whoever give you your information is not being truthful, but the facts are not what you have written. (see my first response).
- I have not personally been contacted about my personal file by the SEC at any time.
- There have not been any meetings or telephone calls made up on my file. Those are other complainants.
- On 24 October 2015 at 15:07 I made a number of edits to your original piece which is below this email.
- I am happy for a quote to go in as follows: – KEATS SAID “I HAVE REPORTED ALL SBCB FINDINGS TO THE SFO IN THE UK AND THE FBI DOES ALSO HAVE CERTAIN SBCB INFORMATION; I AM NOT AT LIBERTY TO DISCLOSE WHAT. IF THE FBI IS INTERESTED IN COMMENCING AN OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION IT IS OBVIOUSLY THEIR CALL TO CONFIRM IT.”
Mark, Like it or not my personal files and I are not the source of an FBI / SEC RBS investigation story. I do not deny that SBCB has had contact with both organisations and those communications are on-going, but I am not going to reveal how those communications began, because I cannot. It is sensitive and you must allow me and them that privacy.
SBCB is not seeking publicity and nor am I.
We have a job to do which I see as very important for the whole country especially when RBS is dealing with 1 in 2 bank accounts. As such I don’t want sensationalism, which is why our press stories to date have been with a view to a specific objective each time.
Please appreciate that if you want to write this story, it is not about me and my files. Whatever RBS is up to and it is up to much, it is far more important than me and my RBS customer files.
Andy Keats Director
M: 07787 800 436
How The Article Went Out
FBI contacts campaigner behind RBS asset-stripping claims
Mark Macaskill Published: 25 October 2015
The bank is facing civil lawsuits and a fine of up to £8bn in the US
A FORMER police officer who helped trigger an investigation into the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) over its treatment of small businesses has been approached by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Andy Keats, a former Metropolitan police sergeant, advised Lawrence Tomlinson, a former government adviser, who two years ago published a report that claimed RBS had forced viable businesses to the wall so that the bank could acquire their assets.
Keats, director of the Serious Banking Complaints Bureau (SBCB), a company that helps small businesses with commercial disputes, claims to have amassed evidence from other RBS customers of wrongdoing by the bank.
It is understood that the SBCB has been contacted by FBI agents who have asked for a synopsis of Keats’s evidence and have suggested a personal meeting to discuss the matter at the US embassy in London.
It is understood that the US Securities and Exchanges Commission has also contacted the SBCB.
Last week, the agencies refused to confirm that they had contacted Keats about his RBS evidence.
Their interest is plausible given that in America, RBS is facing multiple civil lawsuits and a fine of up to £8bn for mis-selling sub-prime mortgages before the financial crash in 2008.
RBS is already being investigated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority over allegations in Tomlinson’s report that a “hit squad”, the Global Restructuring Group, was set up to drive small businesses into the ground and that properties were subsequently acquired by the bank through a separate company.
RBS has denied the claims about the Global Restructuring Group, which has been disbanded.
On Friday, the Serious Fraud Office said that it was “aware of the issue and monitoring developments”.
Photograph:Not known, check with picture desk
Keats recently accused RBS of altering his customer records, including emails and transcripts of a telephone call. RBS has “categorically denied” the allegations but Keats insists that the records, acquired by him from the bank under data protection laws, contain hundreds of discrepancies.
Keats’s records appear to show that words, sentences and paragraphs were deleted from correspondence without any acknowledgement from the bank that edits had been made.
It is not clear at what point RBS may have made the alleged changes.
While data holders are entitled to summarise customer data under certain conditions, they must not delete or edit text that might change the meaning of correspondence, or alter or delete information in response to a data request from a customer.
Keats has complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which is looking into the matter, and has met a senior official from the Financial Conduct Authority to discuss the allegations.
A spokeswoman for RBS said: “We categorically deny deliberately falsifying customer records. RBS takes its subject access obligations under the Data Protection Act very seriously.
“Under the act, customers are entitled to access their personal data only and this data may be provided in extracted or redacted form. Where relevant personal data has been extracted from original records, the extract disclosed to the customer is not therefore an identical replica of the original document.”
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