A SCOTTISH businessman and outspoken critic of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has spent £20,000 on a controversial billboard to highlight the wrongdoings of its now-defunct global restructuring group (GRG).

The billboard was put up in Croydon, South London, by Neil Mitchell, who was CEO of software firm Torex Retail which he claims was pushed into administration by the GRG before being sold off at a discounted price in 2007.

It shows a fake newspaper front page with the RBS logo running with blood, and says the bank had caused “austerity, suicides, bank’s crimes, economic destruction”.

The National revealed last month that Mitchell, a whistleblower who first raised allegations in 2010 against the GRG, had launched a litigation company – Banks Claims Group Ltd (BCGL) – to handle claims against financial institutions.

His legal bid last year failed to force regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to overturn its earlier decision which allowed the bank and its senior managers to escape disciplinary action over the mistreatment of small and medium-sized businesses which were referred to the controversial GRG.

Mitchell and other victims of the group claim the GRG pushed their companies to failure and stripped them of their assets.

The watchdog said commercial lending was unregulated in the UK and the group’s actions fell outside its jurisdiction.

However, Mitchell said more than 530 complainants had now joined his legal move.

He said the billboard was worth the expense, adding that it could come to Scotland: “It is worth it for the attention it is getting.

“I have other billboard designs drafted and am looking at the possibility of other sites – especially in Edinburgh.”

The watchdog would not comment on the legal application while a decision was pending and referred to its statement last July, in which said the GRG’s actions were outside of its remit.

It added: “After carefully considering all the evidence we have concluded that our powers to discipline for misconduct do not apply and that an action in relation to senior management for lack of fitness and propriety would not have reasonable prospects of success.

“We will not comment on the application seeking to review this decision while it is pending.”

RBS would not comment.

Mitchell said: “ The bailout of RBS and Lloyds caused austerity and we all still suffer 10 years on, but here we have claims of alleged fraudulent misconduct by a state bailed-out, state majority-owned, state-supported, state-regulated RBS.

Theresa May’s government has refused all calls for a public inquiry, a new tribunal system, legal and regulatory changes or compensation for what has been called ‘the largest theft anywhere ever’.

“There are five million small businesses in the UK employing 20 million people who are the growth engine of our economy – more than 30,000 British businesses have been destroyed by RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank.”