Trial over RBS 2008 cash call faces further delay amid settlement talks

Court indicates it will adjourn trial until Wednesday as bank seeks to reach deal

A trial in which Royal Bank of Scotland is accused by investors of misleading them over its 2008 fundraising is set to be delayed for a second day, as frantic settlement talks between the claimants and the bank continued in London on Tuesday.

The court has indicated that it will adjourn the trial for another day to Wednesday, a spokesman for the claimants said in an emailed statement late on Monday, as RBS races to settle with the last of five groups left pursuing the claim.

The plaintiffs allege former executives gave a misleading picture of the bank’s financial health ahead of the cash call in 2008. Months after the cash call, RBS had to be rescued by the government with a £45.8 billion (€52.8 billion) bailout.

The case, which threatened at one time to be the largest and costliest in British legal history, originally pitted the bank against five main claimant groups, all but one of which have settled with the bank.


Potentially embarrassing trial

RBS doubled its offer to the remaining RBoS Shareholder Action Group on Monday, sources told Reuters, in a bid to avoid a potentially embarrassing trial at which its former chief executive Fred Goodwin would have had to testify.

Some inside the shareholder group are keen to settle, while a few are more determined to see the case through to trial and force Goodwin and his colleagues to defend their actions during the bank’s ugly near-demise in 2008, sources have told Reuters.

Trevor Hemmings, a multimillionaire businessman whom Reuters previously reported is one of the main financial backers of the claim, is advocating accepting the settlement offer, two sources with knowledge of the situation said on Monday.

A spokesman for Hemmings declined to comment.

RBS, which remains more than 70 per cent state-owned, denies any wrongdoing over the 2008 rights issue and says its former bosses did not act illegally.

Settlement talks continued late on Monday night, one of the sources familiar with the negotiations said.

– (Reuters)