REFILE-UK's Serious Fraud Office probes banks' loan schemes -Times

Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:21pm EDT

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(Refiles to fix date in the dateline and add dropped word 'said' to paragraph 3)

Aug 18 (Reuters) - The Serious Fraud Office is looking into allegations of high street banks misusing government schemes designed to boost lending to small businesses, the Times reported on Sunday.

The Times reported that the UK's main anti-fraud agency is investigating banks' use of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, and its predecessor, the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme in relation to small business customers.

The newspaper said it had seen correspondence that showed the SFO was studying allegations about alleged abuse by lenders.

The paper said the SFO has yet to announce whether it will launch a formal investigation. (thetim.es/1ApCo9d)

"We are aware of the situation. We're monitoring it, but we can neither confirm or deny whether an investigation is or isn't taking place," an SFO spokesman told Reuters. (Reporting by Karen Rebelo in Bangalore; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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