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Legal & General Considers Lawsuit Over 2008 RBS Share Offering

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc may face additional lawsuits from units of Legal & General Group Plc, Prudential Plc and Standard Life Plc over a 2008 share offering before its bailout by the U.K. government.

The pension managers may join an existing shareholder lawsuit in London or file new complaints if they decide to proceed with litigation, lawyers for the companies said in court documents prepared for a hearing in London today. The investment groups are “self-funded and have legitimate reasons in the interest of their stakeholders for needing to retain control of their own litigation,” according to the court filing.

RBS is already being sued by as many as 16,000 shareholders who lost money investing in a 2008 share offering months before the Edinburgh-based lender fell into government ownership. One of the lawsuits in the group action claims damages of as much as 4 billion pounds ($6.4 billion), and names former Chief Executive Officer Fred Goodwin and other managers as defendants.

The investors, who also include the U.K universities pension fund, bought about 10 percent of the issued shares, their law firm, Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, said in the court filing. In July, a British judge combined at least three shareholder suits into a single group action.

RBS is 81 percent owned by British taxpayers after getting the world’s biggest bank bailout -- 45.5 billion pounds -- in 2008 and 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.

Sarah Small, a spokeswoman for RBS in London, couldn’t immediately comment.

The cases are: John Greenwood v. Frederick Goodwin & Ors, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, HC13F01247; Trustees of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme Ltd & Ors v. The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, HC13D01192; David James Lamont v. Frederick Goodwin & Ors; High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, HC13C03047

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