RBS critic pays £20,000 for billboard criticising bank

A critic of Royal Bank of ’s disgraced restructuring unit has spent £20,000 on a billboard berating the high street bank as part of efforts to reinstate an investigation into wrongdoing at the lender.

Neil Mitchell, a Scottish businessman, has paid four months up front on a £5,000 a month billboard on the A23 in Croydon, south London, in an effort to bolster support for his legal challenge.

The billboard, designed as a newspaper front page, shows the RBS logo dripping with what looks like blood and alleges the bank “caused austerity, suicides, bank’s crimes, economic destruction.” The word “suicide” is punctuated with an asterisk sourcing an internal memo in which staff were told to let businesses “hang themselves”.

Mitchell, the former chief executive of software company Torex Retail, told the Guardian the billboard was booked until December 2019, with an option to extend it for the whole of 2020.

“It is worth it for the attention it is getting,” Mitchell said. “I have other billboard designs drafted and am looking at the possibility of other sites – especially in Edinburgh.”

Mitchell has filed a legal application in the hope of forcing the Financial Conduct Authority to overturn a 2018 decision that allowed RBS and senior managers to escape disciplinary action over the mistreatment of small- and medium-sized business customers at its now-defunct Global Restructuring Group (GRG).

The FCA said actions by GRG ultimately fell outside its jurisdiction, as commercial lending is unregulated in the UK.

Victims said their businesses were pushed to failure and stripped of assets at the hands of GRG bankers. Mitchell claims GRG conspired to push Torex Retail into administration before selling it off at a discount price in 2007.



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