LONDON, March 27 Britain's parliamentary
treasury committee has asked finance minister George Osborne if
he or colleagues put undue pressure on Co-operative Group
or Lloyds Banking Group over the sale of more
than 600 Lloyds branches.
The committee, chaired by Andrew Tyrie, is looking at how
Lloyds divested 632 branches in a project known as Verde,
required by the European Union regulators after Lloyds' rescue
by taxpayers during the financial crisis.
"A variety of views have been presented in evidence to the
committee regarding the alleged extent of political involvement
in this divestment process," Tyrie wrote to Osborne in a letter
dated March 26 and made public on Thursday.
"Did Treasury Ministers or any Treasury officials at any
time bring undue pressure to bear on the Co-operative Bank or
Group, or Lloyds Banking Group, in respect of the sale of the
Paul Flowers, the former chairman of Co-op Bank, which
nearly collapsed last year, said this week that Osborne had
pressured the lender to buy the branches from partially
Tyrie said the committee will explore this issue when it
quizzes Osborne on the Budget on April 3.
(Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Steve Slater)