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RBS fined £28m for competition law breach

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has agreed to pay a fine of £28.59 million after admitting breaches of competition law to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The agreement follows an OFT investigation which found that between October 2007 and February or March 2008, staff at RBS’s Professional Practices Coverage Team disclosed confidential future pricing information to their counterparts at Barclays.

The information concerned the pricing of loan products to large professional services firms, such as solicitors, accountancy and real estate firms, and in addition to generic information, the case involved exchanges regarding two specific proposed loan facilities.

However, Barclays eventually brought matters to the OFT’s attention under a leniency policy which means the bank is unlikely to face a fine.

OFT senior director of cartels and criminal enforcement, Ali Nikpay, says: “It is important that companies operating in the UK understand the seriousness of such conduct and ensure effective competition compliance throughout their organisation.”

He adds: “This case … also highlights the strong benefits of acting promptly to report anti-competitive conduct to the OFT and of co-operating with such investigations.”

RBS’s fine was reduced from £33.6 million to reflect its admission and agreement to co-operate.

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