LONDON Jan 21 Britain's accounting watchdog has
launched an investigation into the conduct of Chris Willford,
the former group finance director at Bradford & Bingley bank
which was split up and partly bailed out by the taxpayer during
the financial crisis.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said on Tuesday it had
launched the action after another regulator, the Financial
Conduct Authority (FCA), fined Willford 30,000 pounds ($49,300)
in December for failures during an emergency cash call in 2008
at the bank.
The FCA said last month that Willford, a qualified
accountant and therefore also under the remit of the FRC, had
failed to alert the bank's board to potential risks such as
details about profits, mortgage arrears and re-possessions, at
the height of the credit crisis.
The bank was eventually split into two, its deposits and
branches were sold to Santander, while its loans
remained with the government.
Lawyers have said the Willford case is a further sign of how
regulators are trying to bring individuals, rather than just
companies, to book after the financial crisis left taxpayers
nursing big bills to prop up lenders.
The FRC has powers to fine and ban an accountant from
Willford could not immediately be contacted for comment.