Business

Coutts star banker in sexual harassment claims

Coutts flags Image copyright Coutts

A star banker at Coutts, the private bank used by the Queen, is at the centre of a series of complaints about sexual harassment.

Harry Keogh was accused of lewd comments, heavy drinking and unwanted physical contact.

The Bank said that an investigation had been carried out, and "decisive disciplinary action was taken."

Mr Keogh received a final written warning, and is still at Coutts.

The investigation started as a review of bank culture at the whole of Coutts, but then centred on Mr Keogh.

A Coutts spokesperson said: "When allegations of inappropriate behaviour were made in relation to a particular team within the bank in 2015, an investigation was conducted into those concerns.

"The investigation found that within that team, standards had fallen below what we regarded as acceptable. Decisive disciplinary action was taken as a result."

The BBC understands that Mr Keogh would not make a comment, but that he takes issue with some of the allegations.

According to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report, a senior Coutts banker, Gayle Schumacher, carried out the investigation of Mr Keogh's team and was "shocked" by what was alleged.

The WSJ said that some women had said they would rather resign than have to work with Mr Keogh.

Coutts, founded in the seventeenth century, is owned by RBS which itself is still 71% owned by the government after being bailed out during the financial crisis.

RBS has itself been accused of "pervading sexism". Jayne-Anne Gadhia, a former RBS executive and now chief executive of UK lender Virgin Money, told a Treasury Committee there had been a "very male culture" at RBS which was "win-lose".

She said: "Undoubtedly there was a pervading sexism where I remember a very senior woman being very upset one day telling me that she was expected to sleep with her boss."

RBS was approached for comment at the time.

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