ABN Amro, RBS battle over World Online

ABN Amro and Royal Bank of Scotland are battling over the question of who should pay the compensation claim likely to emerge from the disastrous stock exchange launch of internet service provider World Online, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Tuesday.

The high court is due to rule later this year whether investors can claim damages from the banks, including ABN Amro, which lead-managed the flotation.
World Online, which had never made a profit, was launched on the stock exchange in March 2000 for €43 a share. A month later the share price had plunged. Some 100,000 people, including many small time investors, had put cash into the company.
Nine years on the courts are still looking at claims that investors were misled.
The paper says the damages claim could mount up to €350m. No agreement was made about who should be responsible for paying compensation when ABN Amro was bought by a consortium including RBS in 2007.
Sources say ABN Amro’s CEO Gerrit Zalm believes RBS is responsible but that the Scottish bank points to ABN Amro.
The Dutch bank has since been nationalised at a cost to the taxpayer of €16.8bn.

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