Open Letter To Scotland’s First Minister From Brave RBS GRG Victim Mr & Mrs Henderson

Exclusive From The Excellent Kam Sandhu at Real Media @KamBass @RealMediaGB 2/3/2016

AN OPEN LETTER TO NICOLA STURGEON ON RBS PROSECUTION

  • 2 March 2016

Below we publish an open letter sent today by Nigel Henderson to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. 

Nigel Henderson was an RBS customer, and thought to be one of the first SMEs to experience a process of asset-stripping by the bank in 1997, in what would become an organisational culture, as revealed in our investigation at the end of last year (which you can read here), and in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills’ own Entrepeneur in Residence Lawrence Tomlinson in the Tomlinson report of 2013.

When experiencing a bulwark of silence and inaction from the bank itself, regulators and other authorities, 5 corporate victims of RBS took their evidence and cases to Police Scotland and the Economic Crimes Unit of Dundee.

In this letter, Henderson highlights that while Nicola Sturgeon assured financial journalist Ian Fraser, that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) – Scotland’s prosecution service – wascontinuing with its “complex” inquiry into alleged misconduct by Scottish banks”,* Henderson’s communication with Detective Sargeant Ian Whittle of Police Scotland revealed  COPFS had instructed police that the 5 cases would not be pursued, prior to investigation.

It is worth noting that last Friday RBS releases it’s annual financial report revealing a loss of £2bn, contributed to by £3.5bn worth of fees and fines for what the bank called ‘bad conduct.’ Still RBS CEO, Ross McEwan was paid £3.8m.

We have also been informed that a new report looking into Mr Henderson’s case by former RBS staff who worked alongside the Global Restructuring Group – the now defunct subsidiary where SMEs were placed for the process of asset stripping – is underway, and full findings will be sent to Sir Howard Davies – Chairman of RBS.

————————————————————-

Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP

First Minister of Scotland

St Andrew’s House

Regent Road

Edinburgh

EH1 3DG

Dear First Minister,

In your letter in response to questions raised by Ian Fraser dated 16 May 2015, you assured him that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is actively investigating crimes potentially committed by Scottish-based banks. This followed a Crown Office press release dated 2 July 2012 in which it confirmed it was investigating misconduct by Scottish banks. You concluded your letter to Fraser by stating that, if criminality is uncovered, the Lord Advocate has indicated that criminal proceedings will be instructed.

It is the last sentence that I take issue with, and why I now inform you of the factual position which contradicts the assurance that was given to you by the Lord Advocate last year.

Five corporate victims of the Royal Bank of Scotland last November made complaints to Police Scotland in Dundee, providing them with very clear evidence, with mine supported by counsel’s opinion, that identified fraud by RBS. During a telephone conversation with Detective Sargeant Ian Whittle of the Police Scotland’s Economic Crime Unit in Dundee, on or around 10 February, I was assured that my submissions, along with those of my fellow victims, had been passed to the Crown Office.

However, when I asked during that conversation why we had not received any progress report or even acknowledgement from the Crown Office, D.S. Whittle told me that that it would be at least a one-year investigation, at the end of which the Crown Office “would not pursue, and it would therefore be a waste of police resources”. By implication, Whittle was saying the prosecutorial agency had instructed the police that no further investigations should be pursued into alleged frauds committed by banks.

I conveyed this information to one of my fellow victims, who also telephoned D.S. Whittle, and he received the same information. When pressed, D.S. Whittle stated that he was prepared to be quoted on the attitude of COPFS. However when James Hurley, a journalist at The Times, telephoned D.S. Whittle for comment, Whittle refused to take the call.

It would appear from D.S. Whittle’s comments that the Crown Office has no intention of prosecuting bankers for alleged crimes, even in instances where it has been presented with compelling, or indeed irrefutable, evidence.

I understand the Lord Advocate stood before the Holyrood parliament and intimated thatthe police have a duty to follow the evidence in relation to the alleged mortgage fraud being linked to Michelle Thomson MP. That is all well and good. But surely Frank Mulholland recognises that, were following evidence to become an arbitrary duty, and cease to be a principle that is universally applied, the Scottish justice system will be fatally undermined.

In England and Wales, informed commentators have made clear that Whitehall has exerted pressure to block enquiries and the prosecution of crimes committed by the main UK banks and their senior executives and senior managers. Until D.S. Whittle made his remarks I had assumed this was not the case in Scotland.

The Tomlinson Report, published in November 2013 highlighted widespread malpractice by the RBS’s global restructuring group – also referred to as its “vampire unit”. The report made clear that GRG influenced the decisions of the companies and businesses under its control and acted as shadow directors to ensure that the companies’ finances were secured for the sole benefit of the bank and not the creditors, shareholders or owners of these businesses (see attached excerpt). I believe that such conduct is criminal and fraudulent and that the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Iceland has shown the way in dealing with criminal bankers. If that country has the legal expertise to prosecute, it is barely credible that in Scotland, with its a proud history of producing world-renowned experts in many fields, the Crown Office cannot engage expert legal minds well acquainted with banking and fraud to prosecute. Perhaps it is so incompetent that it cannot understand the nature of the alleged criminality committed by RBS. I and many of my fellow victims have spoken with a number of eminent English based Queens Counsel, some of whom have provided opinions to support the allegations of the fraud committed by RBS in particular. Yet the Crown Office point blank refuses to respond to the submissions with evidence provided to it.

The wilful blindness displayed by the BBC in the Savile enquiry ought to serve as a wake up call to all in positions of influence. In a different, but equally devastating manner, governments, police and prosecutors are turning a blind eye to historical and continuing fraudulent conduct of the banks.

I fully accept your position, outlined to Ian Fraser that it would be inappropriate for you to intervene in independent police and prosecutor’s enquiries. However, it has now reached the stage where a section of society appears to have been granted immunity from prosecution for crimes it has committed and continues to commit.

I just pose this question to you – do you wish to preside over a country where the law favours a select few to the severe detriment of the many? Do you not recognise that if allowed to persist, such a situation can only lead to anarchy and unrest?

One only need to learn the historical lesson from the French Revolution of 1789 and its cause; being the elites out of touch with the majority. The French stood up to a gross abuse of power. This country does not have a history of such rebellious events; however tens, if not hundreds of thousands of SME businesses have been crippled by the criminality of bankers. Millions have been forced into hardship as a consequence of the havoc wrought by the bankers and the billions of pounds required to support the banks. Yet the perpetrators escaped any censure and continue their reckless conduct with seeming impunity. Those in the Westminster bubble appear ignorant of reality. One might have hoped for better from the politicians in Holyrood.

The perception is that you ignore and condone law-breaking by bankers, and this does your administration very few favours. I would respectfully suggest that you have a golden opportunity to address this by following Iceland’s lead and indicating that you favour a levelling of the judicial playing field – by issuing a clear, concise statement that your government will no longer tolerate COPFS’s apparent granting of immunity to banks for their criminal behaviour and unwarranted persecution of SMEs. That way, I believe you could gain the respect of the vast majority of the UK’s 64.1 million residents. You may care to include the fact that there is clear evidence and impartial legal opinion supporting the allegations of the banks’ fraudulent activities. I and many of my colleagues would be more than than willing to meet and share our files with you.

Should the Crown Office persist with its refusal to allow the police to investigate alleged crimes committed by banks and bankers, I and my fellow victims will have no choice other than to follow the legal advice that we have been given and pursue them privately through the criminal courts.

There could be no clearer evidence of hypocrisy in this country, and from you as first minister, were you to continue to assure the electorate that your government is committed to social justice, at the same time as your government is presiding over a two tier justice system in which bankers are above the law. Such a situation would be in direct contradiction to the motto that adorns every courtroom in Scotland assuring citizens that we are all subject to the law and equal in its eyes.

Yours sincerely

NIGEL K HENDERSON

 

Excerpt from Tomlinson Report

  1. Shadow Directors

The decisions made by the bank and IBR whilst the business is in GRG can have detrimental impacts on the business’ ability to operate effectively as a business. As these divisions of the bank are supposed to be turnaround divisions, their focus should be on helping the business to improve their performance and not become a zombie business. Concerns should arise when a part of the bank which is supposed to be helping the business to improve performance is in fact actively making business operations impossible.

It is vital the business is given the opportunity to trade out of their difficulties, where this does not detriment their ability to uphold their agreements with the bank. If the bank is not going to lose money – i.e. the business is able to keep up with their repayments, and there is no other justifiable reason to prevent the business from taking action to turnaround – it is hard not to suspect that the bank does not have the businesses best interest at heart when they refuse such actions.

 

Evidence provided by businesses suggests that the bank has actively prevented some businesses from taking action which would prevent the business from going into default or would pay off the debt.

 

A regular complaint received is the direction for businesses to delay or stop paying their suppliers. This has a knock on effect of damaging the business’ credit rating and relationship with supplier who may also be distressed by the delay in payment. If the business is unable to pay their suppliers, then they are unable to maintain normal business operation, their productivity drops and they have less products and services to sell. The outcome is likely to be that the business will end up in a distressed position. It also has a knock on effect on the viability of the whole supply chain that will have outstanding invoices, potentially losing clients and putting them at risk of breaching their own financial commitments. Considering that RBS and Lloyds have 60-65% of the market share in business lending, it is likely that they will be financing at least part of the very supply chain that they are distressing.

 

It is important to keep front of mind that GRG is meant to be a turnaround division, a part of the bank in which a business who is struggling, or has become a ‘zombie business’ is helped to reinvigorate the business. If, as the evidence suggests, GRG is actually designed to be a profit making centre for the bank, then it is not a turnaround division and the message to the customer is misleading.

 

It is also worth noting that evidence has been received that suggests businesses are being directed by the banks and IBRs not to pay HMRC when in GRG. When taken in the context of the Enterprise Act 2002 and the removal of Crown preference in insolvency, the impact of this on HMRC is significant. HMRC sits behind the bank in insolvency and is unlikely to collect this money owed to them from the insolvency pot, if that is where the business ends up.

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SFO rejects claim that it ignored tip-offs

The SFO recently asked the Treasury for £21 million to continue its current investigations

Published at 12:01AM, February 8 2016

A row has erupted between the Serious Fraud Office and one of London’s leading law firms over figures said to show that the agency ignored tip-offs because of budget cuts.

The SFO accused Pinsent Masons yesterday of “deliberately” misinterpreting data showing that while the number of whistleblowing reports to the agency had risen last year by 324 to 2,832, only 16 new investigations had been opened.

A spokeswoman said: “As we have repeatedly pointed out to Pinsent Masons’ PR firm, not all frauds fall within the SFO’s very specific remit.

“If the information provided is not for us, we pass it on to other relevant law enforcement agencies and regulators. To suggest the SFO has not been able to investigate is deliberately to misinterpret this data.

“It is also wrong to suggest that the SFO’s budget impacts its ability to pursue cases. The SFO will never refuse to take on an investigation on grounds of cost, as demonstrated by its current caseload.”

Pinsent Masons said that the figures, derived from a Freedom of Information request, highlighted the lack of funding for the SFO, which was forced last month to request £21 million on top of its ordinary budget.

“The idea that available budget does not impact outcomes does not hold up to much scrutiny,” Barry Vitou, head of global corporate crime at the law firm, said.

“With a whistleblower reporting system in place but not enough money, the SFO will be forced to continue to prioritise only the cases it considers most important, leaving others to fall by the wayside.”

The contract of David Green, the director of the SFO, is up for renewal in April and most observers expect the former barrister to have his four-year term extended, despite a series of setbacks.

Last month, six former brokers accused of helping Tom Hayes, the jailed former UBS and Citigroup trader, to rig Libor were found not guilty. The court defeat marked a significant hit for Mr Green, who has spent tens of millions of pounds and pinned much of the SFO’s credibility on successfully prosecuting individuals alleged to have been involved in the manipulation of borrowing rates. A trial of six Barclays bankers accused of involvement in Libor-rigging was to begin in the next two weeks, but has been delayed until April after the lender provided new information to the agency.

Former RBS chiefs now control half the ‘challenger banks’ earmarked to reform Britain’s finance industry

Exclusive: Market figures say former RBS coterie carry disproportionate weight in sector’s dealings with the Government
  • James Moore Associate Business Editor
  • @TheIndyBusiness Friday 5 February 2016

“We don’t need smaller versions of the same toxic banking culture, which refuses to act in the interests of society” Rex

Five of the “challenger banks” ministers hope will rehabilitate Britain’s finance industry after the 2008 crash are run by former executives of RBS who were serving under Fred Goodwin in the run-up to its collapse. Senior figures in the market have told The Independent that the former RBS coterie – who together run half of all the “challengers” – carry disproportionate weight in the sector’s dealings with the Government.

The five are Virgin Money’s Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Tesco Bank’s Benny Higgins, Steven Pateman at Shawbrook, Craig Donaldson of Metro Bank, and Paul Lynam of Secure Trust. Of the other challenger banks, former staff of the Big Four are represented no more than once each among their bosses.

The dominance of Mr Goodwin’s former lieutenants risks undermining Treasury moves to boost competition and reduce the heavy influence of the traditional big hitters – RBS, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC – and raises questions over how much the leadership of Britain’s banking market has changed.

The revelation has been called “disturbing” by banking reform campaigners, who said taxpayers would have to hope the mistakes that have drained the Exchequer of billions of pounds of public funds in bailout money would not be repeated. None of the challenger bosses has faced any disciplinary action from regulators, and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by any of them during their time at RBS.

But Joel Benjamin, financial reform campaigner at Move Your Money UK, said the dominance of Mr Goodwin’s former executives was “disturbing” and said that it “raises serious questions about the lack of accountability in bank management”.

“The UK banking sector urgently needs a diversity of banks, and different banking models,” he said. “What we don’t need is smaller versions of the same toxic banking culture, which refuses to be reformed or to act in the interests of society.” He urged the Financial Conduct Authority to “pause for reflection” over its decision to drop a landmark inquiry into banking culture.

The reborn bankers

  • The most prominent among Mr Goodwin’s former execs is Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the chief executive of Virgin Money, which took over the “good” part of broken mortgage bank Northern Rock from the taxpayer in 2011. She has advised the Government on strategy as part of its business advisory group, having worked for Mr Goodwin between 2001 and 2006.
  • Tesco Bank’s Benny Higgins is one of five former RBS executives in senior positions at that bank. He was a member of the top management at RBS, where he helped to integrate NatWest after its takeover, until 2005 when he joined failed bank HBOS as head of retail.
  • Corporate banker Steven Pateman held senior roles in business banking at RBS before becoming the boss of Shawbrook, a new lender founded in 2011 by Sir George Mathewson. He was Mr Goodwin’s predecessor as RBS chief executive and then its chairman, and  helped to set Shawbrook up with money from what was then RBS’s private equity arm.
  • Craig Donaldson, chief executive of Metro Bank, which six years ago became the first new lender to hit the high street in more than a century – and became famous for stunts such as giving away free dog biscuits – is a former investment banker. His roles included serving as head of North American institutional foreign exchange sales at RBS.
  • Paul Lynam, the chief executive of Secure Trust, a retail and commercial bank, is a 22-year veteran of NatWest and then RBS whose roles included running its small business bank.

The problems experienced by RBS during the banking crisis – involving a string of scandals emerging across a range of RBS’s businesses – have made cleaning up its operations a mammoth task. Last month the management of RBS, which had to be bailed out by the Government in 2008, was forced to issue another profit warning.

RBS, still 73 per cent owned by the taxpayer, took a hit of £2.5bn, including an extra £500m to top up provisions for payment protection insurance mis-selling by the retail bank to more than £4bn. The retail side of the institution was also fined £56m after its creaky IT systems locked millions of customers out of their accounts.

Meanwhile, the business banking operation is on tenterhooks as regulators complete a report into the activities of RBS’s Global Restructuring Group, which dealt with financially strained clients and was accused by the former government adviser Lawrence Tomlinson of forcing viable business to the wall. The bank’s treatment of small businesses was the subject of a critical report by the former Bank of England deputy governor Sir Andrew Large which said it had “failed” to lend.

The investment banking unit was heavily fined for both Libor and foreign exchange rate-fixing, while the latest profit warning contained £1.5bn of provisions to cover litigation relating to its sale of toxic US mortgages.

Costs such as these have contributed to the bank’s reporting an annual loss every year since the crisis of 2007-08, including for last year.

David Hillman, spokesperson for the Robin Hood Tax campaign, which presses for a tax on banks’ financial transactions, said of the ex-RBS dominance of the challengers: “It’s disturbing that so many bankers who were in senior roles when the sector crashed are still in top jobs today. We must hope that the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

“It’s down to the Government to ensure the financial sector is fit for purpose. Our concern is that ministers are rowing back on a series of much-needed reforms.”

Unison’s general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Nurses, teaching assistants, town hall workers and other public servants will be angry that senior executives from a bank whose irresponsible lending resulted in millions being taken from the public purse are now part of the new vanguard of banking on the high street.

“Were it not for the reckless behaviour of their and other City institutions, the UK’s public services might have been spared such severe spending cuts, and public sector workers might have avoided years of wage freezes.”

Responding to the concerns, Ms Gadhia said: “Failure will give you as many lessons as you’re willing to learn”. She has previously said she called Sir Richard Branson after executives were being pushed harder and harder for more profit and to back up and sell risky sub-prime mortgages.

Mr Lynam said he became an RBS employee through its acquisition of NatWest. “RBS was the biggest bank in the world and by far the biggest in the UK, with for example nearly one in three UK businesses banking with it at one stage. Given its former scale and the number of acquisitions it made, it is not really surprising that there are lots of former RBS employees working for lots of different banks, including some in CEO roles,” he said.

Neither, Tesco Bank, Metro Bank nor Shawbrook was prepared to comment.

Former RBS boss Stephen Hester set for £500,000 payout from bailed-out bank – more than two years after he left

  • RBS also set to confirm it awarded Hester £1.7million in shares last March
  • Hester’s total pay over five years will hit around £13million 

Former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Stephen Hester is on course for a final payout from the bailed-out organisation of up to £500,000 – more than two years after he left.

RBS will also confirm next month that it awarded Hester £1.7 million in shares last March under a previous incentive plan, taking his total pay for five years at the helm to around £13 million.

The payouts come despite an expected eighth year of losses at the Edinburgh-based bank and with the taxpayer’s stake worth less than half the amount the Treasury paid for it.

In the money: RBS will also confirm next month that it awarded Stephen Hester £1.7 million in shares last March under a previous incentive plan
By Alex Hawkes Financial Mail On Sunday

Hester is the beneficiary of long-term incentive plans put in place before he was ousted as chief executive in June 2013.

RBS’s last annual report revealed that Hester had received an £859,000 share award under the 2011 long-term incentive plan.

The report also said that executives benefiting from the 2012 plan had met enough performance conditions to be awarded almost two-thirds of the maximum number of shares they had been allocated.

For Hester that meant picking up 480,000 shares worth £1.7 million. The bank is expected to confirm the payout in this year’s annual report due next month.

He will receive a final allocation of up to 323,000 shares in March as part of the 2013 plan. Indications from last year’s annual report suggest that executives benefiting from the 2013 plan will get similar allocations to last year – meaning Hester will collect 200,000 shares worth £480,000.

Hester left the bank in June 2013, after a disagreement with the Chancellor over the bank’s strategy. His pay was a long-running sore and Hester – who now runs insurer RSA – gave up a series of bonuses in the face of public anger.

He earned an annual salary of £1.6 million at RBS, took one £2 million bonus and picked up £3 million from the long-term pay plans.

The bank’s pay packages are less controversial than they once were. Top executives are not paid bonuses any longer and chief executive Ross McEwan has given share-based allowances – awarded to him by the board and approved by shareholders – to charity. The bank’s bonus pool this year is nevertheless expected to run into hundreds of millions of pounds.

Both the bank and Hester declined to comment.

Meanwhile, RBS is facing a fresh legal attack in the Far East from Taiwanese shipping magnate Hsin Chi Su – widely known as Nobu Su.

Su, whose TMT shipping group was a customer of RBS in the years leading up to the crisis, filed a claim last week in the Singaporean High Court alleging that RBS temporarily transferred more than $400 million (£276 million) from his company to an account in New York without his permission.

Su claims the move was carried out so RBS could use the money as collateral to help access low-cost loans from the New York Federal Reserve.

His multi-billion dollar business came close to collapse during the financial crisis.

RBS declined to comment.

£12BILLION… The slump in profits from the taxpayer bailout of the banks in just seven months

Grim: George Osborne claimed in June that the Treasury’s original stakes in RBS, Lloyds, Northern Rock and others would yield a £14 billion profit

Grim: George Osborne claimed in June that the Treasury’s original stakes in RBS, Lloyds, Northern Rock and others would yield a £14 billion profit

The Government’s profit from its bailout of the banks has been slashed by £12 billion in just seven months, thanks to the global stock market slump and a slew of fresh bad news at Royal Bank of Scotland.

Chancellor George Osborne claimed in June that the Treasury’s original stakes in RBS, Lloyds, Northern Rock and others were set to yield a £14 billion profit, according to an analysis carried out for it by investment bank Rothschild.

Calculations based on those figures show that the profit has crashed to less than £2 billion after a collapse in the share prices of RBS and Lloyds.

Rothschild’s estimate was heavily criticised at the time because it failed to take into account the £17 billion cost of financing the Government’s £107 billion injection of capital into the financial sector.

Since June, UK Financial Investments, the body that manages the Government’s stakes, has sold £6.5 billion-worth of Lloyds and RBS shares. But the Government’s remaining stakes in the two – 72 per cent of RBS and 11 per cent of Lloyds – have slumped in value and are now worth just £25.5 billion.

The banks have been hit by a wider collapse in equities, but RBS has been particularly badly affected after announcing extra costs that will wipe about £3.6 billion from 2015 profits.

The Treasury put £46 billion into RBS at 502p per share at the height of the financial crisis. The shares were changing hands for just 230p last week, the lowest level they have been since the end of 2012.

The Chancellor pulled a retail listing of the Government’s remaining stake in Lloyds last month, as predicted by The Mail on Sunday, blaming turbulence in the markets.

The Treasury said: ‘As the Chancellor has consistently said, if we want to maximize the ability of our banks to support the economy, then we should return Lloyds and RBS to the private sector. The Government has made significant progress towards this goal, and has done so in a way that has delivered value for money for taxpayers, ensuring they can expect to get back more than they were forced to put into the banks.’

Separately, Treasury Select Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie has called on the Chancellor to make sure banks cannot offset fines and other costs for past misconduct against their tax bills.

Tyrie said: ‘Banks should pay for the full cost of their misconduct. It would be wholly unacceptable if taxpayers, having bailed out the banks in 2008, were to find themselves partly responsible for paying the banks’ fines.

‘It is important to ensure that, when a UK bank reaches a settlement with a foreign regulator, any fines cannot be structured to permit UK tax deductibility.’

Last week HSBC agreed to pay $470 million (£325 million) in fines and compensation to settle a dispute with US regulators over its treatment of US homeowners during the crisis of 2007-2008.

HSBC poised for climbdown on threat to leave

The Sunday Times

Aimee Donnellan Published: 7 February 2016

Giant bank set to abandon plans to quit London for Hong Kong after Osborne’s olive branch and turmoil in China

Decision time: Canary Wharf or Hong Kong for HSBC HQ?

Decision time: Canary Wharf or Hong Kong for HSBC HQ? (Getty)

HSBC is expected to decide this week whether to keep its headquarters in Britain, with senior sources saying directors are leaning towards staying put.

A vote to remain would boost George Osborne, who has made a series of concessions to the City in the face of HSBC’s threat to leave.

The bank — Europe’s largest, with 266,000 employees worldwide, and the second-biggest company in the FTSE 100 — said last April that it would examine whether to remain domiciled in the UK. Among its concerns it cited tough regulations, Britain’s levy on bank assets and uncertainties over Brexit.

Hong Kong has been seen as the most likely destination for HSBC, as it was based in the former British colony for more than a century before buying Midland bank in 1992. However, it is thought that political ructions in Hong Kong and the downturn in the Chinese economy have tipped the balance in favour of remaining in the UK.

“My instinct is that they won’t leave,” said Martin Gilbert, founder and chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management and one of the bank’s largest investors. “It would be quite a logistical manoeuvre to move the operations out of Britain.”

A faction in the HSBC boardroom is understood still to be pushing for a move abroad, according to a source close to the lender. But it is thought that a majority of board members are in favour of staying.

A final decision could be made this week, or at a board meeting the weekend after next, before the release of annual results. It will follow months of intense political lobbying by chairman Douglas Flint and other HSBC board members.

The bank had cited tough new regulations — including the “ring-fence” split between retail and investment banking — and the Brexit referendum as the reasons for the review.

Since then, Osborne has moved to phase out the bank levy — a surcharge on lenders’ loan books. HSBC, which earns 80% of its profits in Asia, had long complained that the charge unfairly penalised banks with large overseas operations. In 2014, HSBC paid the Treasury £750m.

The chancellor has also ousted the City regulator Martin Wheatley and softened the “ring-fence” rules.

The decision over domicile coincides with the publication of a report on how the bank has reformed its internal controls after a record fine in the US three years ago. In late 2012 the bank paid $1.9bn (£1.3bn) to settle allegations that it allowed terrorists and drug dealers to launder cash through HSBC accounts. An American judge has ordered the bank to release, by Friday, a 1,000-page report written by an independent monitor.

Last week the bank also agreed a $470m settlement in a mortgage case. It had been charged with engaging in “unsafe and unsound practices and foreclosure activities”.

HSBC declined to comment.

More than £40bn wiped off value of UK’s biggest banks since start of year in blow to millions of investors and pension savers

More than £40bn has been wiped off the value of the UK’s biggest banks since the start of the year in a blow to millions of investors and pension savers.

While all eyes have been on the rout in the mining sector, banking stocks have been hammered over the last five weeks.

Lloyds – the most widely held stock in the country with around 2.7m retail investors – has slumped by around 15 per cent.

HSBC has lost a similar amount of value in percentage terms but RBS is down 20 per cent and Barclays has dropped 21 per cent, according to research compiled by stockbroker Panmure Gordon.

Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered has also been hit, shedding a fifth of its value.

The huge losses in the banking sector will affect virtually everyone in the country who has money tied up in the stock market, including pension savers.

Banks are also an important source of dividends for income- seeking investors.

While RBS has frozen pay-outs since the crisis and Lloyds has only recently resumed its divi, HSBC has consistently dished out one of the most generous dividends to employees.

UK banks paid out £10.8bn in dividends last year – or £12 in every £100 paid out by UK Plc, according to latest figures from consultancy firm Capita.

Experts said banks have been hit by wider fears about the global economy, with global giants HSBC and Standard Chartered most directly exposed to problems in China and emerging markets.

But they have struggled to pin-point why shares have fallen so sharply compared with most other blue chip companies in the stock market.

The FTSE 100 index of Britain’s biggest firms has fallen by just 3 per cent since the start of the year amid concerns over the slowdown in China and the fall in oil and commodity prices.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at pensions and investment giant Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘Anyone who holds any kind of stockmarket fund – from those with a stocks and shares ISA to pensions savers – will be affected by falling bank shares.’

He added: ‘I’m struggling to make a great deal of sense of why bank shares have fallen so sharply.

‘Concerns about economic growth have certainly played a part. The sell-off could also be due to concerns that interest rate rises might be delayed – banks make more money when rates are higher.’

One analyst suggested that investors are anxious about the prospect of the UK leaving the EU, with a referendum potentially taking place as early as June. Pro-Europe campaigners have warned that Brexit could be hugely damaging to the UK’s financial services sector.

Gary Greenwood from Shore Capital said: ‘Many investors are starting to get nervous about the potential impact of Brexit. There are fears that sterling could fall and interest rates could rise sharply – resulting in more people defaulting on their home loan.

‘This could cause bad debts for banks to spiral.’

The turbulence on the stock markets is also a setback for British taxpayers. The Chancellor has put its plans to sell £2bn of Lloyds shares to the public in the spring on hold.

Experts fear it could be some time before markets calm down enough for George Osborne to complete the re-privatisation of Britain’s biggest bank and get taxpayers’ money back.

Selling shares at their current price of just over 62p would result in a huge loss for taxpayers.

The slump in RBS’s share price has also delayed the Government’s plans to whittle down its remaining 73 per cent stake.

NHS whistleblower is awarded huge damages

The Times Law 

Published at 12:01AM, February 5 2016

Dr Raj Mattu

Dr Raj Mattu was suspended on full pay for eight years, before being sacked in 2010
Matthew Cooper /PA

An NHS whistleblower has been awarded £2.5 million in compensation after he was sacked when he raised concerns about patients dying at a Coventry hospital.

Raj Mattu, 54, a cardiologist, claimed that overcrowded heart wards at the former Walsgrave Hospital had led to patient deaths.

An employment tribunal in Birmingham ruled that he had suffered after making allegations against University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, and had been unfairly dismissed. A claim of race discrimination was rejected.

Dr Mattu was suspended on full pay for eight years, before being sacked in 2010. He raised concerns in 2001 that the practice of putting five patients in bays equipped for four had led to at least two deaths.

He spoke to the BBC after the trust failed to respond to his concerns, and claimed that he was then the victim of a “witch hunt” that led to him being suspended.

The trust spent an estimated £14 million defending Dr Mattu’s claim. Freedom of information requests submitted by his lawyer revealed it had spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on a PR agency to try to protect its reputation and on private investigators.

The trust was ordered to pay £1.22 million net in compensation, as well as Dr Mattu’s income tax and national insurance bill, likely to be about £1.3 million.

Dr Mattu said that it was impossible to resume his medical career after more than a decade out of clinical practice and he was planning to become a science teacher.

He said: “I was only in my 40s when my whole future was taken away from me.”

The tribunal heard that the trust made more than 200 allegation against Dr Mattu to the GMC, all of which were rejected.

The trust said it was relieved the case was over.

Banker who won £3.2m following employment tribunal sues former colleagues for libel

The Telegraph By Agency 11:17AM GMT 26 Jan 2016

Banker who won a £3.2 million payout after suffering a mental breakdown is now suing two of her male former colleagues for libel

Svetlana Lokhova

A banker who won a £3.2 million payout after suffering a mental breakdown is now suing two of her male former colleagues for libel, claiming they waged a vicious ‘campaign’ designed to ruin her professional reputation.

Cambridge graduate, Svetlana Lokhova, who worked for the London branch of Russian bank, Sberbank CIB, won an employment tribunal case over claims of sex discrimination, harrassment, victimisation and unlawful dismissal in March last year.

The tribunal found she had been forced to leave her job after being driven to a breakdown, and that she was unlikely ever to work in the banking sector again.

Svetlana Lokhova had worked for the London branch of Russian bank Sberbank CIB

Svetlana Lokhova had worked for the London branch of Russian bank Sberbank CIB  Photo: Bloomberg

The 34-year-old has now launched a High Court libel case against two of her former co-workers – her direct manager, David Longmuir, and Piotr Tymula – over comments made in emails to other colleagues.

She claims that Mr Longmuir labelled her ‘crazy Miss Cokehead’ and ‘schizo nightmare’ and the hearing of her case against him is pending.

But Mr Tymula’s lawyers are now urging Mr Justice Dingemans to throw out her case against him, insisting he did not use such ‘derogatory remarks’ and that his emails were not damaging to her reputation.

‘They opposed her re-employment by the bank, were openly hostile towards her, and sought to drive her out of her job’
David Sherborne

Ms Lokhova worked in the bank’s equity sales team from June 2011 until April 2012 – which was her second period of employment at the organisation.

Her lawyers told the judge that, both before and during her employment, she was the subject of a ‘sustained campaign’ to wreck her reputation and future career prospects.

They also claimed Mr Longmuir and Mr Tymula were ‘key protagonists’ in this campaign.

Her barrister, David Sherborne, added: “In particular, they opposed her re-employment by the bank, were openly hostile towards her, and sought to drive her out of her job.”

Mr Sherborne argued Ms Lokhova should be entitled to sue Mr Tymula over two emails he sent to three colleagues about her, which he said made ‘baseless and very serious allegations’ regarding her competence at work.

‘The damage to Ms Lokhova’s reputation and the injury to her feelings caused by the emails must be seen in the wider context of the sustained and vicious campaign…’
David Sherborne

“The damage to Ms Lokhova’s reputation and the injury to her feelings caused by the emails must be seen in the wider context of the sustained and vicious campaign by Mr Tymula and other members of the equity sales team to ruin her professional reputation and future career prospects.”

He also said Ms Lokhova had launched her case against Mr Tymula as soon as she became aware of the two emails.

But Justin Rushbrooke QC, for Mr Tymula, said the emails were ‘unremarkable’ in light of the general ‘unhappiness and concern’ that Ms Lokhova’s arrival in the team was causing at the time.

Central London Employment Tribunal

He said Mr Tymula’s contribution towards the discussion could be described as a ‘drop in the ocean’ and there was no evidence he was involved in a defamatory ‘campaign’ against her.

Mr Rushbrooke also said there was ‘not the slightest evidence’ the emails had caused any harm to Ms Lokhova’s reputation – as they were sent to other colleagues who already held her in ‘disesteem’ and whom she held a low opinion of.

He added: “We say, when you look at what was said and when you look at the realistic possibility for it to have caused any damage to Miss Lokhova, in the eyes of those three publishees, and furthermore, when you look at what she thinks of those three publishees, you are in the territory of the absurd to let this litigation continue.”

Mr Justice Dingemans is expected to reserve his decision on whether the case against Mr Tymula can go ahead.

Jail Crooked ‘Fat Cat’ Bankers Don’t Reward Them!

Campaign created by Scott Simpson 10-1-2016

Change UK Banking Culture of Product Mis-selling & Greed

TO: GEORGE OSBORNE

Restart the Financial Conduct Authority Investigation into Banking Culture

Why is this important?

We The TAXPAYERS Need to Change UK Banking Culture and STOP Product Mis-selling, Dodgy Loans, LIBOR Rigging and Huge Bonuses.

Jail Crooked ‘Fat Cat’ Bankers Don’t Reward Them!

The Government’s Financial Conduct Authority has dropped a major investigation into bank pay, promotion, bonuses and other incentives. Osborne said he knew nothing about this – so SIGN this petition to ask him to reverse this decision!

USA & Iceland jail crooked Bankers
Vietnam shoots crooked Bankers
The UK rewards crooked and inept Bankers!

UK banks brought our country to it’s knees with a £1.3 TRILLION debt, and we, the taxpayer, bailed them out.

It’s time for a change. We need to make banking accountable, responsible, fair and honest, AND, once more, COMPETITIVE.

Dodgy and irresponsible bank lending and too much bank leverage led to the 2008 financial crash!

How many times does the taxpayer/uk population have to be kicked?

Had the Bankers not brought the country to its knees in 2008 what state would the NHS and other public services be in right now? – Better funded for sure. How deep would the cut’s need to be, had it not been for the 10’s of billions to keep Banks afloat due to fat cat greed and arrogance.

The Bankers have stolen your money, robbed your pensions, over-stated their profits, manipulated their share prices and raised new capital under false pretences:

Accusations any normal businessman would have been sent to prison for.

From 2001 to 2013 – 100,000 small UK businesses were mis-sold hundreds of billions of dodgy loans by Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank, RBS, Barclays Lloyds & HSBC related to a rigged/ non-existent Libor rate!

These mis-sold loans loaded with massive hidden charges have destroyed many thousands of these businesses, and continue to do so. Some of the banks have washed their hands by offloading these loans to American vulture funds to break up these businesses.

PPI Mis-selling affected many millions of us, but still the banks get away with it with new scandals continually surfacing.

Banks were being brought to book for PPI, but the Government has now decided to water down/cancel it’s own investigation into banking culture.

Sign this petition which asks George Osborne to restart the Financial Conduct Authority investigation into banking culture.