Court rejects bid to halt Dutch sale of Fortis assets

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A Dutch court has rejected a bid by "duped" shareholders of Belgo-Dutch bank Fortis to stop the Dutch state selling its assets.

The Hague – A Dutch court has rejected a bid by shareholders of dismantled bank Fortis to stop the Dutch state selling its nationalised Netherlands-based assets, said a judgment released on Thursday.

"The court dismisses the request," of FortisEffect, a grouping which claims to represent some 1,250 investors, read the judgment handed down in the Amsterdam district court on Wednesday.

FortisEffect argued its members should have been consulted on the nationalisation of Fortis's Dutch assets by the government last October.

Failure to do so rendered the EUR 16.8 billion (USD 22 billion) transaction invalid, they insisted, and precluded the further selling of assets.

FortisEffect sought in particular to prevent the state from selling the insurance activities of Fortis Netherlands.

The court ruled, however, that the Dutch state had already sold Fortis Corporate Insurance in June and the transaction could no longer be stopped.

Furthermore, Fortis itself did not wish to have the sold assets back, it ruled.

A separate bid by FortisEffect to reverse the nationalisation or to obtain damages for "duped" shareholders, will be heard by an Amsterdam court in September.

The former Belgo–Dutch bank and insurance group was dismantled and partly nationalised as the impact of the global economic crisis started being felt.

AFP / Expatica

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