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NatWest bank feared contract ‘VIPs’ could be fraudsters

The High Court has heard how the NatWest suspended Matt Hancock’s team from making payments to PPE suppliers at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic over fears they were being taken in by fraudsters.

NatWest told the government payments over £5 million would have to be reviewed by their fraud team, over concerns about a lack of due diligence in huge contracts being handed out through the so-called “VIP lane”.

At least £1.7 billion worth of deals were struck through the “VIP lane” – some of which were for products which did not meet adequate standards for the NHS, according to a report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee. The committee found DHSC had “wasted hundreds of millions of pounds on PPE which is of poor quality and cannot be used for the intended purpose.”

Full story in The Mirror, 18 May 2021

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