Equitable settles remaining director actions

Equitable Life has settled its case with its nine remaining former directors,
it said today.

The settlement includes a payment to Allen & Overy of more than £5m in
respect of the costs of the six directors it represented, which is likely to
enrage policyholders.

Tim House, the litigation partner at Allen & Overy, said: ‘This case
graphically demonstrates the folly of looking for a scapegoat for every
disaster. It is unfortunate that those who decided to bring this litigation did
not pause long enough in their rush to find someone to blame to consider whether
there was any sustainable basis for bringing a case. There never was.’

Vanni Treves, chairman of Equitable, said: ‘We started these claims with the
full support of policyholders and action groups.

‘The risk of litigation is obvious, as are the potential costs. However,
having considered the best legal and other expert advice available, we concluded
that we had a duty to pursue the claims against the former directors while they
were cost effective.

‘Having settled our claim against our former auditors, Ernst & Young, the
cost effectiveness of carrying on against the former directors alone was
reviewed. Following further consideration with our legal team, our conclusion
was that we should end the litigation on the best terms available. That is what
we have done.’

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