Business Secretary denies interfering in RBS lawsuit

Business Secretary Vince Cable has rejected claims he tried to influence legal proceedings against directors of Royal Bank Scotland (RBS) in relation to the lender's 2008 taxpayer rescue.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has rejected claims he tried to influence legal proceedings against directors of Royal Bank Scotland (RBS) in relation to the lender's 2008 taxpayer rescue.

Cable reportedly wrote to prosecutors calling for a decision as quickly as possible about the lawsuit, which was referred to Scottish prosecuting authority the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in January 2012.

It followed a damning report into the bank by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) which found RBS collapsed due multiple poor decisions and a £50bn risk on buying ABN Amro.

Cable told Sky News he asked for an update on the progress of the case in his letter to Advocate General Lord Wallace but denied he was interfering in the legal process.

"I am very keen for a decision to be reached as quickly as possible in order to maintain public confidence in the efficiency of the decision-making process," he said.

"I am fully aware that the decision whether or not to prosecute rests with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service as the relevant independent prosecuting authority."

He said he merely requested likely timeframes for a decision "to reassure the public that this matter is still being pursued".

Shareholders last month launched a civil case against RBS, claiming they were misled by directors over a £12m rights issue in April 2008 which kicked off a £45bn taxpayer bailout.

The group of more than 12,000 individual and institutional investors named four former directors including ex-chief executive Fred Goodwin in the suit. They said their final claim against the bank could potentially be worth up to £4.0bn.

RD

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