RBS Analyst Says Dispute Over Report Led to Mental-Health Issues

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc was sued by an analyst who said his mental health suffered after his bosses tried to stop him from revealing that a client allegedly falsified a cash-flow statement.

Aaron Rich said he faced a long-term psychiatric injury after he was prevented from attending a bank committee meeting several years ago, according to his lawyer and a written argument he gave a London employment tribunal last week.

“Attempts were made to have me alter an official report that I wrote exposing how” the client “had falsified its financial accounts,” he said in the document given to the tribunal. “I was deliberately physically prevented from attending the internal committee. In my pre-arranged absence from the committee, a senior RBS banker presented deliberately misleading information.”

The bank “absolutely resists” Rich’s claims, said Mark Humphreys, a lawyer for RBS. “The respondent denies the claimant’s claims in their entirety,” RBS said in the written argument it presented to the court.

Damages in U.K. employment tribunal cases are normally capped at about 76,000 pounds ($112,000), unless there is a finding of discrimination or the claimant wins status as a whistle-blower.

Rich had been “well regarded” by RBS, Judge Joanna Wade said at a March 12 hearing on his lawsuit that alleges he suffered injuries and faced retaliation for making protected disclosures. He said in a court document that he was subject to a “disciplinary investigation” in 2011-2012 and a “grievance investigation” in 2013-2014.

Rich, 42, attended the hearing and declined to comment. He has been employed by RBS since 2005, according to the bank’s written argument. He is deemed to be long-term disabled, which reduces his income, his lawyer, Elizabeth Hodgetts, said in court.

Whistle-Blowing Claims

Hodgetts said Rich made seven allegations about possible corporate wrongdoing at a separate meeting at the bank in 2011 relating to the client’s cash-flow statement.

“RBS had gambled with other banks’ money, leading to losses of around 200 million pounds, where the other banks did not know the true, full background to the losses,” Rich said in whistle-blowing claims cited by Wade and in his written argument.

RBS, which is 80 percent owned by the U.K. government, said his whistle-blowing claims didn’t meet the legal definition of “protected disclosures” and had “no reasonable prospect of success.” The Edinburgh-based bank also said that most of the alleged harm would have occurred too long ago for Rich to bring a claim under U.K. employment laws.

Medical Records

Linda Harper, a spokeswoman for the bank, declined to comment after the hearing.

Wade asked Rich to produce medical records next month. At her suggestion, lawyers for Rich and the bank agreed to meet with another judge to seek an informal method of resolving their dispute. If that isn’t successful, Wade said at last week’s hearing that she plans a full hearing in September.

The case is Mr A Rich v The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, case no. 14-22-001927, London Central Employment Tribunal.

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