Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning By Matt Scuffham and Foo Yun Chee LONDON/BRUSSELS | Mon Oct 7, 2013 1:10pm BST LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain told European regulators in July it was considering a break-up of part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland, pre-empting tough European Union rules on state support for banks which came into effect in August. The UK Treasury’s early notification means European regulators will examine any proposals on an RBS break-up under the old EU rules, potentially making it easier to executive. “We made a precautionary notification to the European Commission in July of a potential restructuring measure at RBS,” a Treasury spokesman said on Monday. The Treasury, assisted by investment bank Rothschild, is considering whether RBS, 82 percent owned by taxpayers following a 45.5 billion pound 2008 bailout, should hive off its riskiest loans into a separate legal entity, leaving the rest of the bank better placed to lend. But the new EU rules would have required the bank to put a cap on the earnings of RBS executives and prevented the government buying out minority shareholders, making the plan much harder to implement. New Chief Executive Ross McEwan would have seen his pay more than halved under the new regulations, which limit executive pay to 15 times the average national salary or 10 times that of the average employee at the bank. The Treasury’s early notification means European regulators are likely to examine any proposals on an RBS break-up under the old EU rules. “The new rules apply to state aid notified to the Commission as of 1 August 2013,” said Antoine Colombani, spokesman for EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia, who also confirmed receipt of the July filing. A source with knowledge of government thinking said the July notification was “precautionary” and not meant to prejudice the outcome of the Treasury and Rothschild’s review, which is expected to be made public later this month. Analysts had expected the Treasury to decide against enforcing a breakup. They argued it was not needed since RBS had already wound down or sold off the vast majority of its bad loans and that state aid rules and the need for approval from RBS’s minority investors would make the plan unworkable.
It was an unusual intervention by the Privy Council Judicial Committee, which at the height of the British Empire was a very powerful body but still retains important powers now as a last ditch court of appeals. A five-judge panel ruled in favor of Mark Lundy, who was convicted in New Zealand in 2002 after a jury decided he had attacked his wife Christine, 38, and his daughter Amber, 7, with a weapon similar to a tomahawk at the family home. Lundy received a mandatory life sentence and his appeal was dismissed by the New Zealand Court of Appeals later in 2002. He eventually had his lawyers bring the matter before the Privy Council, which had the authority to hear the appeal because New Zealand did not have its own Supreme Court until 2003. Lundy brought the case before the Privy Council committee in November, more than 10 years after losing his initial appeal in New Zealand. His lawyers argued that he suffered a “substantial miscarriage of justice” when he was initially convicted. They argued that the verdict was unreasonable and not supported by the evidence. The appeal was heard by four judges from Britain’s Supreme Court and one senior New Zealand judge. Lundy’s lawyers convinced the judges that fresh evidence should be considered in a new trial. Lundy is now in his mid-50s. The council said he should remain in prison in New Zealand until his bail request can be heard by the High Court there. Join the Discussion You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.