Fortis shareholders can call decision-makers to court

18th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

A district court in Amsterdam rules that the shareholders can call on senior bank executives and ministers to explain about negotiations leading up to Fortis' dismantling.

Amsterdam – Shareholders of dismantled bank Fortis won the right on Thursday to call senior bank and government officials to court to explain the actions they claim caused them huge financial losses last year.

The district court in Amsterdam "orders a preliminary evidentiary hearing," said a statement, granting an application by FortisEffect, a group that claims to represent some 1,250 investors.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and his former Belgian counterpart Yves Leterme, Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos and Dutch central bank president Nout Wellink as well as several former Fortis bosses would "almost definitely" be among those called to give evidence, FortisEffect lawyer Adriaan de Gier told AFP.

No date has been set for the hearing, which he said was likely to be held in December or January.

The former Belgian-Dutch bank and insurance group was dismantled and partly nationalised in October 2008 as the impact of the global economic crisis started being felt.

Fortis' Dutch-based assets, including ABN Amro bank, were nationalised by the government for EUR 16.8 billion.

With an eye on claiming damages in future, FortisEffect now wants to question decision-makers about the negotiations leading up to Fortis' dismantling.

FortisEffect accuses officials of having distributed false information to influence the financial markets and claims its members should have been consulted on its break-up.

AFP / Expatica

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