Tuesday, 30 March 2010

When will they ever learn?

Two items on Radio 4 news this morning, both slightly off-piste for an IP blawg but not too far ... RBS fined £28.6m for breaching competition law by exchanging information with Barclays about loan rates to large professional borrowers (story here on the BBC website), and a journalist censured by the PCC for what he wrote in a blog - establishing that blogs operated by those subject to the PCC have to maintain the same standards as their printed editions (story here).
The competition law breaches date back to late 2007 and early 2008, so predate the nadir of the banking industry and (more importantly) the nationalisation of RBS. It still raises many questions about conduct and corporate governance there - how could any competent executive imagine this conduct was permissible, or even that they might get away with it? Whacking the nationalised bank with a penalty like that also looks a bit questionable, though it doesn't represent many bonuses ...
From a more objective legal perspective, it's noteworthy that RBS co-operated with the investigation and secured a £5m reduction, and that Barclays avoided a penalty by blowing the whistle on the the illegal practice.
And here (courtesy of a client of mine) is the perfect gift for the banker wishing to tip off the authorities about a competition law breach ...

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