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Barclay's contractor-turned-whistleblower claims 'errors' in interest paid.

Summary: Charges about impropriety have been made against a major UK-based bank.

A probe has been launched at banking giant Barclay’s after a former contractor ...

Charges about impropriety have been made against a major UK-based bank.

A probe has been launched at banking giant Barclay's after a former contractor alerted authorities last week about alleged serious errors in the way taxation of interest paid to those handed payment protection insurance (PPI) compensation is being calculated. According to the UK's Independent, Barclay's confirms the inquiry. The British bank is headquartered in London.

Former contractor Charlie Boyle alerted the Financial Conduct Authority's whistleblowing hotline about his concerns, and the banking giant subsequently launched an investigation into the issue. Boyle had served as the team leader charged with handling financial reconciliations, or as he told authorities, "making the numbers add up."

Boyle claims his department was riddled with "political and target-obsessed approach." Further, Boyle adds that the numbers frequently contained errors and they could have been misreported to Barclay's board including Antony Jenkins, head of the bank

He told the Independent that a clear-up of the operation could take at least two years -- even if PPI complaints and claims ceased tomorrow.

In emails sent to senior Barclay's figures, he described what he said was a "hemorrhaging of exceptions" over the taxation of interest payments. The team handling tax at source, he said, was not recruited or up to speed until late February, after HM Revenue & Customs changed the way the tax on PPI compensation interest was handled in October.

In a statement, the bank said:

"Barclays takes any claims of bullying or malpractice seriously, and as a matter of course investigates fully, as we have done in this case.

Mr. Boyle was a contractor who decided to leave Barclays following discussions regarding a company-wide reduction in contractor rates. He made no allegations of bullying prior to his decision to leave, and a full investigation by a senior independent official has found no evidence to support these claims.

In October 2013, HMRC introduced a requirement for banks to deduct tax on interest on PPI payments to customers. Barclays put systems in place to meet this requirement. In addition, Barclays carried out reconciliations to check the right amount of tax was paid.

However, in some cases the proper reconciliation did not occur for a short period. In these cases Barclays took a prudent view to make payment of any unreconciled amounts to HMRC to ensure there was no underpayment of tax. Mr. Boyle may not have been aware of this decision. Once again, Mr. Boyle did not voice concerns on this matter until after his decision to leave."

Further reading:

Microsoft shareholder sues company over EU regulatory failings

Report shows extreme inaction into tax fraud by IRS

SEC rejects whistleblower claims for failing to follow Dodd-Frank rules

Whistling an ethical tune

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Publication:Inside Counsel
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 16, 2014
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