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UPDATE 1-Trial over RBS 2008 cash call adjourned for settlement talks
May 23, 2017 / 10:16 AM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-Trial over RBS 2008 cash call adjourned for settlement talks

* Trial delayed for second day as settlement nears

* Former RBS CEO Goodwin set to testify

* Bank has already settled with 4 of 5 claimant groups (Updates with decision)

By Kirstin Ridley and Lawrence White

LONDON, May 23 (Reuters) - A trial in which Royal Bank of Scotland is accused by investors of misleading them over its 2008 fundraising was delayed for a second day, as frantic settlement talks between the claimants and the bank continued in London on Tuesday.

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 pound ($59.42 billion) bailout.

The judge presiding over the case said the trial, which had been due to start Monday, will be adjourned to Wednesday, but urged the claimants to make up their minds whether to settle or pursue the case to trial.

A majority of the remaining shareholders in the claim are in agreement over the decision whether to settle or not, Jonathan Nash, a lawyer representing them, told the judge in Britain’s high court in London.

RBS shares rose 2.3 percent by 1000 GMT, against a 0.9 percent rise in the STOXX European banks index.

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.

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 percent 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.

$1 = 0.7708 pounds Additional reporting by Andrew MacAskill, editing by Louise Heavens

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