Thursday, August 21, 2008

Royal Bank delays production of evidence in multi million pound dispute

The Royal Bank of Scotland, it is reported by the Herald newspaper, has delayed production of key evidence in a case against the Bank claiming a needless loss of over £10m …

The Herald reports :

Tycoons angry at bank’s delay in cash row

JULIA HORTON August 21 2008

Two self-made millionaires were furious yesterday after Scotland's largest bank continued to delay producing crucial evidence which it claims proves it was authorised to leave them penniless.

Edmund Keane and Jimmy Jones are arguing that the Royal Bank of Scotland had no right to use their life savings to set off debts on accounts set up secretly in their names by Keane's brother, the former Celtic director and RBS bank manager Dominic Keane.

Yesterday at the Court of Session in Edinburgh the bank requested another six weeks to examine the "numerous" hidden accounts and produce documentation which it claims shows that Dominic Keane instructed it to act as it had done.

The request was agreed by Lord Angus Glennie on condition that the bank agreed to a call from the two men's lawyer for it to supply all documents relating to instructions given by Dominic Keane for the opening of and making of debit entries for the first two years of all the relevant accounts.

The order follows a three-and-a-half year battle by the two men who are suing RBS over claims that it lost their £10m fortune and left them several million pounds in debt.

Both of them had agreed to grant power of attorney to Dominic Keane in 1990 when they moved overseas after selling off their carpet empire Colonel Gees.

But neither of them had any idea that all their money had gone until 2005 when a cheque for Mr Jones's sons' private school fees suddenly bounced and Edmund Keane received a letter telling him he was more than £2.5m in debt.

Yesterday's order came the day after it emerged that Dominic Keane is accused of using the concealed accounts to carry out a 13-year multi-million-pound fraud.

Michael Jones QC, lawyer for the two men, the pursuers in the case, attacked the bank during yesterday's hearing for continually failing to provide proof that the instructions existed despite repeated requests by the pair's legal team.

He said: "They RBS have had three-and-a-half years to investigate their position on this."

Later he added: "We're talking about two pursuers' savings."

The bank had claimed that the power of attorney agreements provided "sufficient authorisation" for it to use the men's fortunes to set off debts on the unknown accounts without telling them.

At court earlier this week RBS revealed that it had also received specific instructions from Dominic Keane, prompting Lord Glennie to rule that it must now provide proof of that for the two men.

Paul Cullen QC, acting for RBS, requested the six week time period yesterday after explaining that it would take a considerable amount of time to examine the "hundreds" of debit entries on the numerous accounts.

Quizzed by the judge he confessed that he didn't have a "complete understanding" of the "nature or detail" of all the documents or what was involved in going through them.

But he said: "Much of the information is likely to be of an entirely routine, daily nature. It is a little difficult to say what will entail getting proof."

After the hearing a source close to the men told The Herald: "Three-and-a-half years after sending a letter to Edmund saying that all his money had gone and that he now owed about £2.5m, and after bouncing Jimmy's school fees cheque, the bank are still not willing to provide the information that they say shows that Dominic Keane gave them instructions to authorise these transactions.

"This was these men's life savings but the bank is still saying it would be too time-consuming to trawl through files to find evidence of instructions from Dominic Keane. Meanwhile Edmund Keane and Jimmy Jones are penniless. They are really angry."

The case will be continued at a preliminary hearing to be held in October.

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