LONDON — A court battle between the Royal Bank of Scotland and thousands of shareholders was adjourned until June 7, to give more time for last-ditch settlement talks.
The adjournment is the third time this week the court case has been delayed, after RBS reportedly increased its compensation offer to the claimants.
Investors are suing the bank and former RBS executives after they invested in the bank for its £12 billion 2008 rights issue and lost most of their money.
The dispute, which would see former CEO Fred Goodwin make his first public appearance in eight years as a witness on June 8 and 9, has been active for years.
The bank, which is still majority state-owned, doubled a settlement offer, proposing an 82 pence-per-share settlement with investors during talks on Sunday, according to a Sky News report. This is more than double a previous offer of 40p-per-share.
The judge presiding over the case, Mr Justice Hildyard, said it was “an exceptional case with exceptional logistical problems,” according to a report by BBC News. He said: “We must have certainty one way or the other. The court must know whether the matter is to proceed or not.” If the trial does begin in June, it is expected to take up to 14 weeks.
The RBS Shareholder Action Group, which has thousands of members, launched a £4 billion lawsuit in 2013 against RBS and former RBS executives Fred Goodwin, Tom McKillop, Johnny Cameron, and Guy Whittaker. The group accused RBS and the former executives of “misrepresenting the underlying strength of the bank and omitting critical information from the 2008 Rights Issue prospectus.”