Gerard Walsh co-founded the group
An influential MP has called for an urgent inquiry into a group set up to sue Royal Bank of Scotland on behalf of small investors, following a Mail on Sunday investigation into a fraudster at its centre.
Norman Lamb also blasted the Ministry of Justice for ‘doing nothing’ to probe the RBoS Shareholders Action Group, which he says should have been regulated.
His concerns, raised in Parliament last week, come after a seven-month Mail on Sunday probe found the group was co-founded by a fraudster, Gerard Walsh.
The Irish businessman has been trying to help himself to £3.75 million out of a £200 million settlement that the bank agreed to pay investors who signed up to the action group.
Lamb has separately written to Justice Secretary David Gauke asking for a meeting to discuss the action group.
He praised The Mail on Sunday for having ‘pursued a thorough investigation into the activities of this company’.
The Liberal Democrat MP named Walsh as ‘someone who has a track record of personal and business insolvency and who has faced allegations of fraud’.
He has been described as a fraudster by a civil court.
Lamb said the group should have been regulated by the MoJ, which runs the Claims Management Regulator.
He suggested that the MoJ had chosen not to regulate the group based on ‘assurances given by a lawyer associated with Gerard Walsh that everything is fine and that regulation is not relevant in this case’.
But Lamb added that other lawyers had ‘advised the action group company that they come within the regulatory remit’.
‘I am really concerned about a double jeopardy here,’ the MP said at a debate hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking, which he co-chairs.
‘People who have already lost through the appalling behaviour of RBS [are] now at risk of losing again with this settlement money leaking out all over the place, potentially improperly.’
He added: ‘There are criminal sanctions where there is a failure to properly get registered in the regulation system.
‘These people, if they are taking money out of the settlement pot, away from innocent victims, need to be pursued… It needs to be investigated, and investigated as a matter of urgency.’