RBS sued over mis-sold rates swaps

Evening Standard, 02.06.16


State-backed Royal Bank of Scotland is facing ballooning claims from the founder of one of the UK’s biggest students’ digs groups amid allegations senior bosses knew about Libor rigging.


Stuart Wall, head of Opal Property until it collapsed in 2013, claims RBS mis-sold it interest rate swaps and forced Opal into administration.


He has also included a new allegation in documents lodged with the High Court that false Libor submissions were known about “at a high level”, and included sterling Libor manipulation.


Opal was the country’s biggest students’ accommodation provider with large-scale sites in the UK’s major cities. The business, which provided housing for 20,000 students, was sold to Greystar and Goldman Sachs after it fell into administration.


A trial is scheduled for October 2017 with a case management hearing set for next month.


Wall is suing for damages of around £400 million but this could rise to as much as £700 million.


“It’s taken everything I’ve worked for, 30-odd years building up a company,” Wall told the Evening Standard.


“They took it away and we didn’t understand why. There are so many people who have given up because of the cost of justice.”


RBS, which declined to comment on the Opal case, was fined  £390 million for fixing yen and Swiss franc Libor but denies it fixed sterling Libor.


The bank also denies Wall’s allegation that senior bosses had knowledge of the Libor misdeeds and denies all the other allegations.


The action is the latest headache for the state-backed bank, which is currently at the High Court fighting similar claims by the Property Action Group.


A consortium of small and medium-sized businesses have also formed a group called RGL Management to bring action against RBS in the future.


RBS said it would defend the claims “vigorously”.


View the Evening Standard article online