* HMRC says probe not related to business activities of the banks
* Sunday Telegraph says RBS bankers arrested as part of probe
* RBS says co-operating fully with HMRC
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Several British bankers have been arrested as part of an investigation into alleged tax-related criminal offences, the country’s customs and revenue service said on Sunday, including some from Royal Bank of Scotland.
“As a result of an ongoing HMRC investigation into tax-related criminal offences, HMRC has arrested a number of people, some of whom work for UK banks,” Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) department said in a statement.
“This investigation relates to the actions of the people arrested in relation to their own financial affairs and is not connected to the business activities of the banks,” it added.
The arrests come as Britain’s top banks are under attack from politicians over paying large salaries and bonuses while the rest of the country suffers in the UK’s faltering economy, and for not lending enough to businesses.
The department did not identify the bankers nor the companies they worked for. The Sunday Telegraph newspaper said four current and one former member of Royal Bank of Scotland had been arrested as part of the probe.
An RBS spokeswoman told Reuters: “We cannot comment on an ongoing investigation but are fully co-operating with HMRC.”
Last month, the chief executive and chairman of RBS, which is 83 percent owned by the British government after a state bailout during the 2008 credit crisis, gave up their million pound bonus packages following public anger.