September 21, 2018
Business

Lawyers attack businessman at heart of £200m Royal Bank of Scotland claim

In a High Court hearing today lawyers said that a businessman at the centre of a group involved in a £200m claim against the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) had been described as a fraudster in two previous court cases.

Lawyers acting for former RBS shareholders instructed by Manx Capital Partners said that it was a matter of record that two courts had described a businessman at the heart of the case as a fraudster.

Gerard Walsh is described by lawyers for Manx as a “prime mover” behind the RBOS Shareholder Action Group.

The Action Group acted as an agent for shareholders which sued RBS over claims that it misled shareholders over the health of the bank before a rights issue in 2008.

Read more: Royal Bank of Scotland shareholders in court battle over £200m settlement

Walsh is claiming £3.5m from the settlement, on top of the £80 per hour in consultancy fees that he has charged for his work on the case since March 2009.

Manx Capital, one of the major claimants, is now acting as the delegated manager of the claims against RBS.

In court today lawyers instructed by Manx said that Walsh had been described as a fraudster in an Irish High Court case in 1997 and in a Royal Court of Jersey case in 2014.

A barrister acting for the Action Group responded by saying that Walsh had not been a party to the proceedings in Jersey and had not been asked to give evidence in the case.

Read more: Claimants in RBS case expecting first payment of £200m settlement

Lawyers for the Action Group also said that Signature Litigation, the law firm instructed by Manx, had changed its terms part way through the case, increasing the amount it would receive in success fees.

Many shareholders have still not received a penny from the settlement as the two sides wrangle over how the money will be disbursed.

Barristers for both sides told the court that they were close to coming to an agreement on a method by which documents held by the Action Group could be shared with Manx so that Manx could begin to pay money to the shareholder group.

Read more: More job cuts "inevitable" says Royal Bank of Scotland finance boss

Mr Justice Hildyard who was presiding said that he would give his judgment this week regarding the next step in the dispute.

The Action Group said it is trying to protect shareholders from what it described as Signature Litigations high fees, while lawyers instructed by Manx argued that it was not prepared to hand over money to the Action Group unless it could all be properly accounted for.

Lawyers for the RBOS Shareholder Action Group were approached for comment.

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