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Cases cost Equitable 45m

Equitable Life has dropped its litigation against the remaining nine former directors in dispute with the mut- ual leaving policyholders to foot a 45m legal bill.

The agreement means the society will reimburse around 10m in legal fees to the nine directors on top of the estimated 35m cost of the failed lawsuits against a total of 15 former directors and auditors Ernst & Young.

Equitable Life chairman Vanni Treves says the outcome of the case, which he says will cost policyholders 75 each, is disappointing, but continuing would run the risk of heavier costs.

He says: “The risk of liti- gation is obvious, as are the potential costs. How- ever, having considered the best legal and other exp- ert advice available, we concluded that we had a dut to pursue the claims against the former directors while they were cost-effective.”

Equitable Members’ Action group chairman Paul Braithwaite says the group is considering pushing for an EG to try and oust Treves.

The society originally claimed 3.2bn from former directors and 2.5bn from Ernst & Young.

Treves says the board has received a number of offers for the mutual’s assets, with Prudential widely rumoured to be lead bidder for the 7bn annuity book.

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