The Times reported in July that Police Scotland is investigating certain criminal allegations in relation to a former RBS Global Restructuring Group (GRG) employee. Ross McEwan, Chief Executive of RBS, told the Treasury Committee in January that he was unaware of any allegations of criminal activity within the bank.
The article stated that RBS had alerted police to the criminal allegations eight months previously, and that RBS did not dispute that Mr McEwan was aware of the allegations during the evidence session.
Mr McEwan wrote to Rt Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, on 16 August 2018. He wrote that he “entirely reject[ed] the suggestion that the Committee may have been in any way misled by the evidence” that he gave to the Committee in January. Mrs Morgan has responded today to Mr McEwan to set out the Treasury Committee’s collective judgement.
Commenting on the correspondence, Mrs Morgan said: “When asked in January if he was aware of any criminal activity at GRG, Mr McEwan withheld information of relevance and interest to the Committee. His letter to me implies that this was not inadvertent, but because he considered that the criminal allegations and police investigation in question were not related to the subject matter of the Committee’s session.
“The Committee is unconvinced by that explanation. It expects clarity and openness from witnesses, and Mr McEwan’s evidence fell short of that standard.
“More generally, the Committee is concerned by the pattern of defensiveness, and a failure to acknowledge mistakes, demonstrated by RBS throughout its handling of the GRG affair. Mr McEwan’s letter to me is an example of this, and it casts doubt on his assurances that RBS’ culture has changed fundamentally since he took up his position five years ago.
“If the Committee decides to ask Mr McEwan to provide further oral evidence, it will expect him to tell the whole truth, not an edited version to suit him.”