OFT raids banks on law firms’ loans investigation

OFT raids banks on law firms' loans investigationThe Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has raided Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) as it launches an investigation in to the price-fixing of loans to professional services companies such as law firms.

Barclays has turned to longstanding adviser Clifford Chance while RBS has turned to its long-term counsel Linklaters to defend themselves.

In a statement Barclays said it had approached the OFT after members of its professional services team were approached from outside the bank “in a manner which we regarded as inappropriate”. The bank said it reported the incident on 17 March.

The investigation is the latest probe to be kick-started by the OFT in the last couple of years. The watchdog is investigating a number of financial institutions over bank charges and last year imposed a record fine of £121.5m on British Airways over fuel surcharge price-fixing. In the fuel charges investigation Virgin Atlantic was granted leniency after blowing the whistle on its co-conspirator.

Clifford Chance and Linklaters declined to comment on the current investigation.