RBS settlement talks break down as trial date nears

Helen Cahill
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Fred Goodwin (right) could yet see his day in court (Source: Getty)

A meeting between RBS and representatives of the bank's small shareholders has collapsed today, prompting the possibility that a trial over RBS' financial health before the 2008 crash might still go ahead.

Thousands of RBS retail investors are suing the bank, claiming they were misled over the extent of the financial troubles at RBS during its £12bn rights issue in 2008. The rights issue was supposed to stabilise the bank, but it had to be bailed out months later.

Read more: "Diehard" RBS investors fight to keep trial hopes alive as they seek funds

RBS' chief executive Ross McEwan met with the directors of the RoS Shareholder Action Group this morning, Sky News reported. However, a settlement between the two groups has still not been reached.

It is thought McEwan declined to increase RBS' offer to claimants. RBS needs at least 70 per cent of the claimants by value to agree to the offer for it to stick. The High Court claim is valued at £520m.

The trial is due to start next Wednesday.

A proportion of the 9,000 claimants, including institutional investors, have said they are ready to accept RBS' settlement offer of 82p per share, an offer which would cost the bank £200m.

Read more: ­­Should we be clamouring to see Fred Goodwin in court over RBS' collapse?

However, it is thought that more than half would prefer for the matter to go to court. If the trial goes ahead, the disgraced former boss of RBS, Fred Goodwin, could be forced to spend two days in the witness box.

As reported by City A.M. yesterday, these investors now want to be given more time so that they can raise money to fund their case. Sources said the group has raised half of the £7m they need.

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