Alex Salmond backed RBS’s ABN disaster

SCOTLAND’S first minister Alex Salmond’s enthusiastic backing of Royal Bank of Scotland’s disastrous takeover of ABN Amro returned to haunt him yesterday.

A letter, released yesterday, shows that Salmond wrote to RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin (pictured) in May 2007 to throw his weight behind the bank’s disastrous purchase.

Signing the note, “Yours for Scotland”, Salmond said he “would like to offer any assistance my office can provide”.

Scotland’s secretary for finance, John Swinney, said in a separate letter at the time that the deal was “an enormous achievement for RBS” that helped make Scotland seem “an attractive place to do business”.

Goodwin, who was the brainchild behind the ABN Amro deal that bankrupted the bank, was in December criticised by the Financial Services Authority for his “gamble”.

The letters will also make it much harder for Scottish politicians to blame the London establishment for the recession and the implosion of the Scottish banking sector.

But Salmond was nevertheless in combative spirits over his campaign for a referendum over Scottish independence yesterday, revealing a plan to hold a vote in 2014 – a year later than David Cameron’s offer earlier this week. “You’d think they’d be queueing up to say ‘stand on your own two feet’. Instead they’re conspiring like anything to hang on to us,” he said.

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