UK government advisor contacted by 1,000 firms over RBS loans

LONDON Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:07am EST

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LONDON Jan 29 (Reuters) - UK government advisor Lawrence Tomlinson has accused state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland of systematic mis-treatment of small firms and said he has been contacted by around 1,000 businesses.

Tomlinson wrote a report last year accusing RBS of pushing small firms into default so it can charge higher fees and seize control of their assets.

Tomlinson told parliament's Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday that the majority of cases related to RBS and its Global Restructuring Group (GRG) turnaround division.

"I have had so many cases wherever I go. It seems to be systematic to me...cases with RBS GRG follow a system," he said.

RBS's Chief Executive Ross McEwan has said that he doesn't believe the bank, 82 percent-owned by the government, conducted a "systematic" effort to profit from its troubled business customers.

Britain's financial regulator is examining the allegations and RBS has appointed Clifford Chance to conduct a review.