British bank cancels luxury jet

Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:02am EDT
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By Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) - British taxpayers may have to foot the bill for a $4 million lost deposit on a private jet ordered for top Royal Bank of Scotland executives that will never be used, the French manufacturer said on Thursday.

The recently bailed-out bank is among a list of companies which canceled orders for Dassault Aviation's ultra-modern long-range Falcon 7X business jet and rival models in the wake of the financial crash and fury over boardroom perks.

The list also includes U.S. bank Citigroup, once the world's largest bank which has also been battered by heavy losses.

Citigroup said in January it had canceled an order for a business jet that politicians called wasteful, but officials at Dassault Aviation said it had received a total of three plane cancellations from the U.S. group as it sheds assets.

Citigroup in New York had no immediate comment.

RBS was bailed out by the British government late last year and is mired in a row over a 16.6 million-pound ($23.7 million) pension pot for former Chief Executive Fred Goodwin.

RBS placed the order for a state-of-the-art Falcon 7X business jet worth $40-45 million about five years ago, and the plane was due to be delivered this year, Dassault civil aerospace business head Olivier Villa told Reuters.

The bank canceled the order late last year, he said.   Continued...