Court ends dispute over share lease

Investors who borrowed money to invest in shares under Dexia Bank’s share lease scheme have been told by a court in Amsterdam that they must accept the out-of-court settlement reached 18 months ago. Under the deal, investors must pay back just one-third of the money they borrowed to invest in shares.

Dexia had asked the court to rule that the deal – worked out with the help of former European central bank president Wim Duisenberg in 2005 – be made applicable to everyone who taken part in the share lease scheme.
Between 1992 and 2003, Dexia signed share lease contracts with nearly 400,000 customers. Investors borrowed money to buy shares under the agreement they would pay back the debt when the shares were sold.
But the value of their investments plummeted with the economic downturn, leaving thousands in debt. Some 100,000 people signed up to action groups arguing that they had never been properly told about the risks.
The court, yesterday, partially backed that position and said Dexia had been negligent. But it also said investors should have been aware that there were risks involved.

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