NETHERLANDS - A second group of investors has filed a lawsuit against former Belgian-Dutch bank Fortis for misleading investors in the build-up to its collapse in 2008.
Dutch shareholder association VEB launched the claim against eight directors of Fortis - now known as Ageas - and five other banks.
VEB accused Fortis of having issued misleading information on 24 September 2007, in which it estimated its exposure to the sub-prime mortgage market as €20m, when its actual impact was closer to €8bn.VEB claims members lost €18bn as a result.
VEB's claim follows a separate accusation of misleading investors from Stichting Investor Claims against Fortis Foundation last week. (Global Pensions: 10 January 2011).
The eight accused former Fortis employees, who appear in court in Amsterdam on 23 February 2011, include Maurice Lippens, Fortis co-founder and chair of its board until end September 2008, and Jean Paul Votron, previous chief executive of Fortis, who left in July 2008.
VEB said it chose the individuals due to the personal responsibility it believes they held for communication to investors about the bank's financial health, which proved to be wrong. It also plans to pursue other Fortis employees, beyond its current claim.
Five other banks, aside from Ageas itself, are also accused, including Merrill Lynch International, Fortis Bank SA / NV (now BNP Paribas Fortis), ING Bank, Rabobank and Fox-Pitt Kelton.
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