Fortis SA/NV (Belgium)
Status: Ongoing Case
Labaton Sucharow represents injured investors as liaison counsel in this Belgian securities action against Dutch/Belgian bank/insurer Fortis.
The allegations against Fortis involve misrepresentations made surrounding its 2007 acquisition of ABN AMRO Holding NV, and the September 2007 Rights Issue used to finance that transaction. It is alleged that Fortis repeatedly misled investors as to the real value of its book of collateralized debt obligations and the extent of its exposure to subprime mortgage-backed securities.
A collective action was filed against Fortis (n/k/a Ageas) on behalf of a large group of investors before the Commercial Court in Brussels, Belgium in January 2010. Concurrently, several groups of investors joined together to form Dutch settlement foundations, which were empowered pursuant to the Dutch Civil Code to negotiate for global settlement of claims that may be advanced against a corporation. The plaintiffs in the Belgian action and the Dutch foundations joined forces to negotiate with Ageas for a settlement.
On March 14, 2016, the claimants in the Belgian action, Ageas, and the aforementioned Dutch foundations reached a preliminary agreement to settle investors’ claims with Ageas for €1.2 billion. This is the largest non-U.S. securities action settlement in history.
Because of the involvement of the foundations, on May 23, 2016, the settlement was submitted for approval to the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, which can find a settlement achieved by a Dutch settlement foundation binding on any investors whose interests are represented by the foundation unless investors opt out of the settlement. The parties are presently awaiting the court’s approval of the settlement.