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  1. ITV Report

RBS court battle: Shareholder action adjourned for settlement talks

  • Video report by ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills

High Court proceedings by thousands of angry shareholders against Royal Bank of Scotland have been adjourned for 24 hours for settlement talks.

Mr Justice Hildyard gave the go-ahead for the adjournment, which had been mutually agreed by the parties.

Jonathan Nash QC, representing the shareholders, told him the two sides had agreed their discussions "would be facilitated by allowing a further period of time for them to continue before the trial begins".

David Railton QC, for the defendants, said "that is agreed".

The lawsuit has been brought by against the lender by 9,000 retail investors and 18 institutions in the RBS Shareholder Action Group.

Earlier it was reported that RBS had doubled its settlement offer in a last ditch attempt to avoid a costly legal battle.

Shareholders claim they were left nursing hefty losses Credit: PA

If no settlement is reached now and the case goes ahead, former RBS boss Fred Goodwin will be expected to defend his role in the bank's near-collapse.

Mr Goodwin - who was stripped of his knighthood in 2012 - would be expected to answer questions over the events leading up to the government's £45.5 billion bailout of the bank nine years ago.

The legal action centres on a rights issue overseen by Mr Goodwin in April 2008, when RBS asked existing shareholders to pump £12 billion into the bank after leading a consortium that spent £49 billion on Dutch lender ABN Amro.

Shareholders claim they were left nursing hefty losses following the cash call after RBS shares plunged 90 percent and the government was forced to step in when the deal turned toxic.