Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Most RBS claimants ready to settle case, court told



Most of the claimants suing Royal Bank of Scotland over its ill-fated 2008 cash call are now willing to reach an out of court settlement with the lender, a court has been told.
 
A High Court judge agreed to adjourn the start of a trial in the case - which had been due to begin on Monday - for another day after hearing talks had made significant progress.


It comes after Sky News learned that RBS was closing in on a £200m-plus settlement with thousands of investors over the rights issue.


Such a deal would stave off the prospect of a trial and spare former boss Fred Goodwin from giving evidence in open court on the events at the height of the financial crisis.


Jonathan Nash QC, for the claimants, told a hearing on Tuesday: "The majority of claimants have indicated their willingness to accept the latest offer from the defendant.


"There now appears to be a good prospect that within the course of today the remaining claimants, or nearly all, will confirm they also agree in principle so as to bring a practical end to proceedings."


Mr Justice Hildyard granted an adjournment in the case until Wednesday.


An agreement could bring an end to years of pursuit over the £12bn rights issue launched by Mr Goodwin just months before the lender needed rescuing by British taxpayers.


Crucially, Trevor Hemmings, the multimillionaire businessman funding part of the claim, is said to have decided that RBS's 82p-a-share proposal - tabled by the bank's current chief executive, Ross McEwan, on Sunday - was sufficient to justify settling.


The proposal represents the latest in a string of last-ditch efforts by RBS to avoid the lead-up to its 2008 cash call being played out in public.


Investors allege that RBS, under Mr Goodwin's leadership, misled them about the state of the bank's finances when it raised billions of pounds from them just months before it had to be rescued.


Mr Goodwin, along with Sir Tom McKillop, the former RBS chairman, are named alongside the state-backed bank as defendants in the case.


The Government continues to own more than 70% of the bank, and there is little prospect of it ever recouping the money it paid to avert its outright collapse.

 
SKY       News.