1 Feb 2012

UK banker stripped of knighthood

7:50 am on 1 February 2012

The British government has cancelled the knighthood of the former head of Royal Bank of Scotland because of his role in the bank's failure during the 2008 credit crisis.

It says RBS former chief executive Fred Goodwin was the bank's dominant decision-maker at the time.

The Queen annulled the knighthood of Mr Goodwin on advice from the government, which says the bank's failure helped to trigger the worst recession in Britain since World War II.

Mr Goodwin was awarded the knighthood in 2004 for services to banking.

He has been under heavy criticism since taxpayer funds were used to bail out the stricken bank.

The BBC reports Mr Goodwin oversaw the purchase of ABN Amro at the height of the financial crisis in 2007.

RBS had to be propped up with £45 billion and the government finished up with a stake of 83% in the bank.

In the past, only convicted criminals or people struck off professional bodies have had knighthoods taken away. But the government says Mr Goodwin is an exceptional case.

On Sunday, current RBS chief executive Stephen Hester was forced to decline a share bonus worth £1 million after the award had been attacked by all major British political parties.