Ex-RBS bosses cleared of fraud: watchdog
Britain's financial watchdog on Thursday said it had found no evidence of fraud by former bosses of state-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland ahead of the global financial crisis which crippled the lender.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said their findings "confirmed that RBS made a series of bad decisions" in the run-up to the 2008 crisis but stressed they "were not the result of a lack of integrity by any individual."
One of those investigated was former chief executive Fred Goodwin, who in 2008 led the bank to Britain's biggest annual corporate loss at more than 24 billion pounds (37.2 billion dollars, 28.6 billion euros).
The FSA said its "review confirmed that RBS made a series of bad decisions in the years immediately before the financial crisis, most significantly the acquisition of (Dutch bank) ABN Amro and the decision to aggressively expand its investment banking business.
"However, the review concluded that these bad decisions were not the result of a lack of integrity by any individual and we did not identify any instances of fraud or dishonest activity by RBS senior individuals or a failure of governance on the part of the Board," it added.
The troubles at RBS led to a boardroom shake-up with Stephen Hester replacing the disgraced Goodwin.
RBS is now about 80-percent owned by the British taxpayer after a massive government bailout as the bank was ravaged by the credit crunch and the takeover of Dutch giant ABN Amro at the top of the market in 2007.
© 2010 AFP