LONDON, April 3 Britain's finance ministry did
not interfere in the process of state-backed Lloyds Banking
Group's planned sale of hundreds of branches to the
Co-operative Bank, finance minister George Osborne told
The Treasury Select Committee, which examines the work of
the Treasury, has conducted an inquiry into whether there was
undue political pressure applied to Lloyds or on the regulator
to clear the way for the bank to sell 631 branches to the Co-op.
Lloyds was ordered to sell the branches, code named Verde,
by European regulators as a condition of its 20.5 billion pound
($34.1 billion) bailout during the 2008/9 financial crisis.
"Ministers and officials made clear to the FSA (Financial
Services Authority) that the regulatory decision on whether to
allow the Co-op/Verde deal to proceed - and, in particular, the
prudential judgment on whether there were financial stability
concerns from doing so - was a matter wholly and solely for it.
At no point, did the Treasury seek to interfere in those
judgments," Osborne said in a letter to Committee Chairman Andre
($1 = 0.6012 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Matt Scuffham)