Matthew Greenburgh, the former dealmaker, and two Goldman Sachs bankers are among the City figures who could be asked to testify in a £4bn High Court lawsuit brought against Royal Bank of Scotland by thousands of the bank’s shareholders.
Mr Greenburgh, who retired from Bank of America Merrill Lynch in 2010 after a 28-year career in investment banking, advised on RBS’s disastrous decision to buy ABN Amro in 2008 and was close to former chief executive Fred Goodwin. He was also an adviser to Eric Daniels, former chief executive of Lloyds TSB on its purchase of HBOS at the height of the banking crisis.
Mr Greenburgh has given a witness statement in the RBS litigation about its 2008 rights issue, which is due to come to trial next year in one of the most expensive disputes to ever be heard by the English courts. RBS’s legal costs alone in the case are upward of £100m.
Goldman Sachs bankers Todd Leland and Julien Petit and Deloitte partners Steve Almond, Robert Topley and Alan Walton have also provided witness statements, according to a document submitted to the High Court in a pre-trial hearing last month.
The lawyers and bankers have never spoken publicly about the 2008 rights issue. They now face the prospect of being cross examined under oath in a British courtroom.
Mr Goodwin and Tom McKillop, the former RBS chairman, are among the former bank directors being sued and also face being cross examined in court.
Investors claim they were misled into signing up to the £12bn rights issue months before RBS’s near collapse in 2008. They claim the rights issue prospectus contained untrue or misleading statements about the bank’s financial position. RBS denies the allegations and is defending the case.
Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs worked on the 2008 rights issue at RBS with Deloitte and law firm Linklaters.
Some of the advisers including Mr Almond are also mentioned in an amended particulars of claim, which details last-minute changes made to a draft of RBS’s rights issue prospectus in April 2008.
Hours before RBS launched its cash call, Mr Almond questioned material in the RBS draft prospectus that described writedowns “in 2008”, according to the court filing.
He wrote that the implication was there would be no further writedowns that year, which was “the hope but cannot be controlled”, according to the court documents.