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Former Co-op Bank chief accepts misconduct charges

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Former Co-operative Bank chief executive Barry Tootell has accepted misconduct charges from a Financial Reporting Council tribunal over his role in the bank’s near collapse.

Tootell cannot be a chartered accountant for six years and must pay £20,000 towards the cost of the FRC’s enquiry.

In January the Prudential Regulation Authority gave Tootell a lifetime ban and fined him £173,802 for presiding over the bank’s £1.5bn shortfall in capital and pulling out of a deal to acquire 630 branches of Lloyds bank.

The PRA action triggered the FRC misconduct charges.

An FRC statement says Tootell broke its rules between 1 January 2009 and 10 May 2013 by not showing enough care when leading the bank.

The FRC adds that between 22 July 2009 and 10 May 2013 Tootell broke its rules about showing effective leadership and had failed to organise an efficient risk management system for the bank.

Tootell agreed to the six-year ban and the £20,000 payment.

FRC executive counsel Gareth Rees says: “The period of exclusion imposed in this case sends a clear message to accountants of the high standards of professional conduct expected of them when undertaking important roles within business.

“The sanction reflects the significance of the misconduct by a CFO and CEO of a major UK bank, and the need to promote public and market confidence in the accountancy profession and the quality of corporate reporting in this sector. Mr Tootell engaged in the FRC’s settlement process by accepting his misconduct which has led to a considerable saving of time and cost.”

An investigation in relation to KPMG Audit Plc and the audit of the financial statements of Co-op Bank is ongoing.

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