RBS bank executives enjoy SECRET £300,000 champagne party… just weeks after £20bn bail-out by taxpayers

Last night an RBS spokesman said: ‘This was an entirely appropriate staff event to recognise outstanding performance by a small number of our staff.’
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The Royal Bank of Scotland has blown £300,000 on a secret champagne junket for executives – less than a month after being given a £20billion handout by the taxpayer.

Bankers and their partners enjoyed the lavish party to mark their ‘success’ after a year in which the collapse of the banking industry led to global financial meltdown.

The supposedly stricken bank laid on the celebration amid extraordinary secrecy to try to prevent details reaching the public, even cancelling the original venue, a top hotel in Hampshire, and transferring the party 350 miles north to Edinburgh.

Dancing in the street: Bankers threw a lavish party to celebrate 'success'
Dancing in the street: Bankers threw a lavish party to celebrate ‘success’

But despite holding the black-tie ball in private, executives gave the game away as they danced in the street and continued the fun back at their five-star hotel.

In the public bar of the Caledonian Hilton other guests were singing and swigging double brandies into the small hours of yesterday.

Entertainment: Comic Patrick Kielty told jokes about the credit crunch at the HBOS bankers gala dinner
Entertainment: Comic Patrick Kielty told jokes about the credit crunch at the HBOS bankers gala dinner

Meanwhile, more than 300 HBOS bankers enjoyed a boozy £330,000 junket – complete with five-star hotel rooms and a four course meal.

The 302 Halifax/ Bank of Scotland mortgage staff, along with 68 guests, guzzled down champagne while watching TV comedian Patrick Kielty – who charges £20,000 a show – tell jokes about the credit crunch, the News of the World reported.

Joking about the bankers excesses while Britain suffers a credit crisis, Kielty apparently told them: ‘Your secret is safe with me!’

An HBOS whistleblower told the Sunday tabloid: ‘There was absolutely no expense spared. We had the best of everything – great food, expensive wine, you name it.

‘It’s outrageous really, considering all the recent troubles at HBOS. We all had a good time though. We even got a day off work- and got paid for it.’

Last month both HBOS and RBS, which owns NatWest, crawled cap-in-hand to the Government for help.

But this did not appear to weigh heavily on the minds of 40 executives from the Bancassurance department of RBS, which sells insurance and banking packages to businesses, and 30 of their partners.

As they arrived at the bank’s sleek new headquarters in Edinburgh on Saturday night, they were handed flutes of champagne and seated for a four-course banquet with fine wines.

According to insiders, the evening included a theatre performance based on the touring Rat Pack musical and dancing to a 20-piece band.

Party's over: Bankers and their partners arrive back at their five-star hotel at 1.40am
Party’s over: Bankers and their partners arrive back at their five-star hotel at 1.40am

Initially, the bank had booked Chewton Glen, a renowned Hampshire country house hotel which costs a minimum of £89,100 for a weekend. However, the booking was cancelled just days ago amid growing public anger at greedy banks.

Then a cloak-and-dagger operation was devised to shift the party to Edinburgh. A source claimed guests were instructed the celebration would be known only as the ‘Kudos event’, and those travelling to Edinburgh were told to book their own flights and claim the money back through expenses.

Last night an RBS spokesman said: ‘This was an entirely appropriate staff event to recognise outstanding performance by a small number of our staff.’

The spokesman would not be drawn on the cost of the cancelled booking at Chewton Glen. The previous night 300 executives-from another bank, HBOS – bailed out with £11.5billion of public cash – enjoyed a £330,000 party at an Edinburgh hotel.

The mortgage staff and their guests whooped with delight as TV comedian Patrick Kielty cracked jokes about homeowners having to ‘scrimp and save’.

A spokesman for HBOS insisted: ‘It was a modest affair, an event we hold every year to reward our star performers. It was well deserved.’

By Sam Greenhill
Last updated at 2:59 PM on 10th November 2008

Source: Daily Mail

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