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Ex-RBS boss Fred Goodwin avoids criminal charges over bank's near collapse

Published 12/05/2016

Scottish prosecutors have been investigating RBS for five years
Scottish prosecutors have been investigating RBS for five years

Former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Fred Goodwin has avoided criminal charges relating to the bank's near collapse in 2008 after an investigation found "insufficient evidence" to charge any individual.

Prosecutors in Scotland have been investigating the bank, which came close to collapse at the height of the financial crisis, for five years.

The Government was forced to bail the bank out by pumping £45 billion of taxpayers' money into the lender in 2008.

Mr Goodwin came under fire for his part in the crisis and was eventually stripped of his knighthood in 2012 because of the "scale and severity of the impact of his actions".

A statement from the Crown Office said: "The Crown's investigation focused on the rights issue of April to June 2008, and involved detailed consideration of whether there was any evidence of criminal conduct associated with the rights issue.

"Following careful examination of all the evidence seen to date, Crown counsel have decided that there is insufficient evidence in law of criminal conduct either in relation to RBS as an institution or any directors or other senior management involved in the rights issue.

"If any further evidence comes to light which is relevant to this inquiry it will be considered by the Crown and we reserve the right to make further inquiry, if considered appropriate."

A spokesman for the Crown Office said it had been an "extremely complex investigation", including examining more than 160,000 documents by a team of specialist forensic accountants and banking experts, supervised by the Serious and Organised Crime Division.

Close co-operation with a range of financial regulators and banking institutions, including the Financial Conduct Authority, the Prudential Regulation Authority, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Reporting Council, was also involved in the probe.

He added: "The failure of RBS is an issue of great public concern. The Crown undertook a thorough, independent investigation following publication of the FSA (now FCA) report in December 2011."

Overseen by Mr Goodwin, in April 2008 RBS announced a rights issue, asking existing shareholders to inject £12 billion into the firm to strengthen its reserves after the bank had splurged £49 billion to acquire Dutch bank ABN Amro.

The deal proved toxic and, just months later, the value of RBS shares plunged 90% and the Government had to step in.

RBS is still 73% owned by the taxpayer and some s hareholders are engaged in a multibillion-pound civil action against the bank over the rights issue.

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