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Equitable Life vs Ernst & Young court case starts today

Equitable Life today begins court proceedings against its former auditor Ernst & Young and 15 of its own former directors, in one of the biggest lawsuits of its kind.

The UKs oldest mutual is suing E&Y for 2.05bn for negligence, reduced from 2.6bn when the courts reduced part of the claim last year.

The trial could cost over 100m, although E&Y says Equitable Life is wasting its time and money, because the case should never have been brought.

Equitable Life seeks damages for negligence, accusing E&Y and the directors from misadvising, failing to identify the risk of liabilities arising from its guaranteed annuity rates pension policies between 1997 and 1999.

E&Y chairman Nick Land says: We believe by taking this case Equitable is pouring policyholders money down the drain. Nothing that E&Y did caused Equitables problems. There is nothing we could have told them they did not already know. There was no black hole, no fraud and no money lost.

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