Dutch Fortis shareholders threaten court action against state

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Shareholders of dismantled bank Fortis threaten the Dutch government with legal action.

THE HAGUE—A group of 1,200 shareholders of dismantled banking company Fortis threatened the Dutch government with legal action Thursday in a bid to cancel the nationalisation of the group's Dutch activities.

"A summons was served today on the finance minister," Wouter Bos, to insist on a meeting with the shareholders, their lawyer Adrian van Gier told AFP.

"If we receive no response in 10 days, an action will be filed in a court in Amsterdam."

Van Gier said the shareholders maintain they should have been consulted by the Dutch state before it took the decision in October 2008 to nationalise Fortis' Dutch-based activities.

"This was not the case, and we will now ask a court to declare the decision null and void."

The finance ministry insisted the transaction had been "valid" and the loss for shareholders would have been far greater without it.

Hard hit by the global financial crisis, the former Belgian-Dutch banking and insurance group was dismantled in October, with its Dutch banking and insurance assets nationalised by the Netherlands for 16.8 billion euros (22 billion dollars).


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