The Times: John feels Taxpayers were ‘fleeced’ over Worldpay deal…

Extract from an article in The Times, where John says that Taxpayers were ‘fleeced’ over Worldpay deal…

MPs have attacked the way Royal Bank of Scotland was forced into fire sales of assets by European regulators, as the state-owned bank’s disposal of Worldpay in 2010 came under the spotlight.

“The British taxpayer has been fleeced by incompetent EU regulators to the tune of £15 billion,” John Penrose, the Conservative MP and a candidate to chair the Treasury select committee, tweeted yesterday.

RBS was forced by the European Commission to sell Worldpay and other assets, including Direct Line, as the price of receiving £45.5 billion in bailout cash in 2008-09.

Worldpay, which processes debit and credit card payments, provisionally agreed on Wednesday to be taken over by its US rival Vantiv. The deal gives Worldpay a £7.7 billion price tag — far higher than the estimated £2.5 billion RBS received for the business.

The bank also received about £3 billion for Direct Line, the car insurer. It is now valued at £5 billion. Other asset sales such as the disposal of Citizens Financial in the US also seem to have been unfortunately timed as their values have subsequently increased.

Mr Penrose told the Financial Times that he would ask questions in parliament to establish whether taxpayers could claw back any of the missed profits from the Worldpay deal. Nicky Morgan, another candidate to chair the Treasury committee, said, “I think it is legitimate for all of us to consider whether the taxpayer did get full value for the sale of these businesses.”

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