UK court to allow HBOS papers in £600m Lloyds trial 4 hours ago Sensitive government documents can be deployed in a £600m High Court trial which will rake over Lloyds controversial rescue of HBOS in 2008, a High Court judge ruled on Tuesday.
Lawyers representing 6,000 investors who are suing Lloyds and five former directors over the deal were handed 12 sensitive documents in August by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy after a judge agreed they were relevant. However the papers were the subject of a confidentiality order and it was unclear whether they would be made public in the upcoming trial which starts on Wednesday. Mr Justice Norris ruled on Tuesday that the government lawyers could not keep the documents secret ahead of the trial. He said that lawyers for the shareholders could “freely deploy” the documents when they become relevant to the court case. The trial which starts on Wednesday involves 6,000 investors who allege they were misled into approving the takeover and claim that key information over the true financial health of HBOS was withheld from them including an emergency support package from the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve. Lloyds and the former directors, which include Mr Daniels and former chairman Victor Blank, deny wrongdoing and are defending the lawsuit. The trial will see former directors of Lloyds including ex-chief executive Eric Daniels testify in the witness box about the HBOS deal. The government documents which can now be used at trial include detailed advice and views from the Bank of England, the Financial Services Authority and the Treasury on how to manage and regulate financial stability issues at UK court to allow HBOS papers in £600m Lloyds trial 17/10/2017 23:33
None of the papers have ever been made public. One document was written by Sir Hector Sants, the then chief executive of the Financial Services Authority. He is a witness in the upcoming trial but the court heard on Tuesday that his testimony is the “subject of special arrangements.” The government argued in its written submissions to Tuesday’s hearing that unrestricted use of the documents “would reveal granular details of the tripartite discussions between HM Treasury, the Bank of England and the FSA in formulating and coordinating policy responses to matters of major economic importance to the United Kingdom..” It argued that they were not historical documents even though they were almost 10 years old. Lloyds is fighting the case and says its ex-directors acted properly at all times. “The group’s position remains that we do not believe there to be any merit to these claims and we will robustly contest this legal action,” it said.