A vehicle controlled by the enigmatic billionaire Trevor Hemmings has accused a swathe of groups, including nine Lloyds subsidiaries, of attempting to “unjustly enrich” themselves dodging litigation costs related to a £200m claim against RBS.
Manx Capital, a group owned by Hemmings, is leading thousands of shareholders in the claim, which has been fraught with complexities.
In a High Court action, Manx has claimed 18 companies – including two sovereign wealth funds – “have intimated in correspondence that they are unwilling to meet their obligations” to the group, failing to contribute towards costs.
Court documents seen by City A.M. show the groups are accused of having left the litigation group between late 2015 and April last year without paying legal costs that have be estimated to stand at £23.9m.
Manx is suing four companies controlled by Investec, two parts of the BAE Systems pension fund, two parts of the Kuwait Investment Authority, nine Lloyds subsidiaries including Scottish Widows, and GIC, a Singaporean sovereign wealth funds.
The original claim is one of many launched in the aftermath of RBS’s £12bn rights issue during the financial crisis, centred on claims that RBS misrepresented its health at the time. It was originally brought by the RBOS Shareholders Action Group, a company lead by Gerard Walsh, an Irish businessman who has been named as a fraudster in the Royal Court of Jersey.
Hemmings took over control of the £200m claim in March last year. Shortly afterwards, in June, the case was settled ahead of trial. Signature Litigation, which is instructed by Manx for the claimants, has subsequently distributed more than £25m to claimants.
Manx recently won a dispute with Walsh’s legacy Shareholders Action Group company, which it claimed had failed to justify some of the costs it produced.
Representatives for the Manx and 18 companies could all either not be reached for comment, or declined to comment.