In a statement made yesterday, chairman Vanni Treves said he was willing to ‘ruin E&Y or the livelihoods of its partners and their families’.
‘Based on the legal advice the Board has received, we have a very powerful case against E&Y and we are preparing for trial next year,’ he said.
‘The Board has a duty to act in the best interests of policyholders and if E&Y wants to pick up the phone to talk about settlement, then, of course, we will listen. But for my Board to consider settlement, any offer from E&Y must be sincere, serious and substantial. Otherwise we will see them in the High Court.
‘We are reasonable people and, obviously, we do not want to ruin E&Y or the livelihoods of its partners and their families unless we have to.’
Earlier this week, the UK chairman of Ernst & Young, Nick Land, had opened the door to a possible out-of-court settlement of the £2 billion negligence claim brought by Equitable Life.
But this statement from Treves leaves little doubt as to his firm’s current position, which is a marked departure from earlier this year when it, too, had expressed hopes for an out-of-court settlement.
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