TSC member: Lobby US to cancel RBS’ £5bn fines

The Foreign Office should lobby the US to scrap litigation against the Royal Bank of Scotland, according to Treasury select committee member Jacob Rees-Mogg.

RBS is facing $8bn (£5bn) worth of fines over mortgage-backed securities sold in the US before the financial crisis.

The Telegraph reports Conservative MP Rees-Mogg asked the bosses of UK Financial Investments, the body that manages the taxpayer’s stake in RBS, if they had called for diplomatic help.

He asked UKFI executive chairman James Leigh-Pemberton: “Are you saying to the Treasury they should use the Government’s diplomatic efforts with our closest ally to avoid the British taxpayer being fined $8bn by the American taxpayer?

“If I were you, I would be saying, what is the British embassy for if it is not trying to get RBS off this fine? Our closest ally fining us $8bn is pretty stiff.”

Leigh-Pemberton said it was not for him to “go outside of our remit of commercial management and engage in areas of activity in which we do not really have any expertise”.

But he said he is keen for RBS to settle the case before it comes to court, which is expected to be in early 2017.

Leigh-Pemberton told the committee: “From our point of view, certainty and resolution of this issue at the earliest possible opportunity is highly desirable.

“But certainty and resolution at any price is not. It is about finding the right balance between getting it out of the way and ensuring taxpayer value is not adversely impacted.”