City watchdog hands over RBS report to MPs but stops short of publishing

The City watchdog has handed over its report into Royal Bank of Scotland's mistreatment of small businesses to MPs, but has decided not to make it public.

Andrew Bailey, head of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), was last week ordered by Treasury Select Committee chairwoman Nicky Morgan to release the report into Global Restructuring Group, the lender's controversial restructuring arm.

But on Friday, Mr Bailey said that "publication by the FCA has proved impossible" for legal reasons.

It comes after the FCA was heavily criticised for "completely" losing control of the review, which was leaked online and shared openly on social media overnight.

Mr Bailey added: "It is regrettable that the report has been leaked but this does not allow us to publish.

Andrew Bailey is head of the Financial Conduct Authority (Anthony Devlin/PA)

"I do want to make it clear that it is not our intention to frustrate or impede the work of the committee, quite the reverse in fact, and with that in mind we are providing the report as required."

Mrs Morgan has said the influential committee could make the report public itself using parliamentary privilege as early as next week after its meeting on Tuesday February 20.

"At that meeting, I will be asking members to agree to publish the final, unredacted report under parliamentary privilege as soon as possible," Mrs Morgan said.

However, under-fire Mr Bailey has cautioned the MPs against publishing the report themselves, having said in an earlier letter: "If the committee decides itself to publish the report, it will no doubt want to consider carefully the precedent of publishing a document obtained from the FCA under Parliamentary Privilege where the FCA considers that it is legally constrained from publishing the document itself."

RBS has been dogged by allegations that GRG intentionally pushed small businesses towards failure in the hope of picking up their assets on the cheap.

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