RBS is in last-ditch talks to avoid a court battle with investors

A court battle between the Royal Bank of Scotland and thousands of shareholders was adjourned for a second day on Tuesday, paving the way for last-ditch settlement talks.

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.

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 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.

Most, but not all, the investors would be willing to accept the offer. “The present position is that the majority of claimants have indicated their willingness to accept the latest offer from the defendant,” Jonathan Nash QC, for the claimants, told the judge, according to the BBC.

The judge allowed the adjournment but warned: “There will come a time when the claimants must simply realise that it is incumbent on them to make up their minds whether to continue with the litigation.”

The 12,000-strong RBS Shareholder Action Group 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.”

RBoS Shareholder Action Group had not responded to an email at the time of publication.

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