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OFT fines RBS £28m for revealing price details

The Office of Fair Trading has fined Royal Bank of Scotland £28.59m for anti-competitive practices with Barclays.

It says the fine is in relation to the pricing of loan products to big professional services firms.

Between October 2007 and February or March 2008, individuals in RBS’s professional practices coverage team disclosed generic, as well as specific, confidential and commercially sensitive future pricing information to counterparts at Barclays.

Barclays blew the whistle, which is why the OFT opted not to fine the firm under its “leniency policy”.

OFT senior director of cartels and criminal enforcement Ali Nikpay says: “The disclosure of confidential future pricing information to competitors is unlawful.
This sends out a strong message that such practices, even where they arise in the context of informal contacts between competitors, can result in substantial penalties. It is important that companies take steps to ensure an effective compliance culture is understood by individuals throughout their organisation.”

The OFT says a full decision on the case will be published on its website later this year, following editing of commercially sensitive information.

An RBS spokeswoman says: “The fine was the subject of a settlement agreed with the OFT in February 2010. We take our commitment to compliance very seriously and cooperated fully with the OFT’s investigation.”

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