On 25 August 2004 an Amsterdam Sub-District Judge gave a judgement in the case
brought by Stichting Eegalease against Dexia Bank Nederland. To recall, this
action was commenced on 13 March 2003 and was aimed at obtaining (i) application
of article 1.88 of the Dutch Civil Code to share leasing contracts, and (ii)
the cancellation of those contracts concluded between the end of January 2000
and May 2002 for which the client had not obtained the signing by way of consent
of their spouse, or alternatively the decision that the said contracts are cancellable
by application of the said article.
In the decision, the Sub-District Judge finds that the claim brought by Stichting
Eegalease for the collective nullification of the aforemorementioned contracts
is rejected, on the grounds that it is not up to these organisations to invoke
the rights of the clients or their spouses.
However, the Subdistrict-Judge also finds that share leasing contracts qualify
as "forward contracts" within the meaning of article 1.88 of the Dutch
Civil Code. On this basis, the Sub-District Judge rules that three individuals,
who acted as co-plaintiffs alongside Stichting Eegalease, have effectively nullified
the share leasing contracts concluded by their respective spouses. Dexia notes
that in 14 other judgements, rendered by three other courts, both District and
Sub-District, it was ruled that article 1.88 is not applicable to shareleasing
Dexia Bank Nederland, who contests today's judgement as regards the applicability
of article 1.88, has immediately announced that it will appeal against it.
Dexia Bank Nederland observes that the judgement of the Sub-District Judge is
favourable in so far as it rejects a collective and automatic nullification
of contracts signed by clients with spouses. As a consequence, the nullity of
contracts must indeed be pronounced by a separate decision, which means that
each of the spouses of clients must obtain a judgement from a Court on the basis
of the specific circumstances of the case. This judgement, coming after the
judgement of 7 July 2004, positive for Dexia, in the Leaseverlies case, reconfirms
that a collective approach in relation to share leasing disputes is not suitable
or legally acceptable.
Dexia Bank Nederland is of the opinion that the judgement of the Amsterdam Sub-District
Judge does not significantly alter the legal position of the Bank and that consequently
its policy for making provisions for legal risks which was applied until now
does not at this stage need to be modified.
Dexia Bank Nederland states that on 21 July 2004, it had share leasing contracts
with 196,000 clients in its books, representing total outstanding credit of
EUR 2.8 billion, and that the value of the shares guaranteeing those credits
was EUR 1.9 billion at the same date. Dexia Bank Nederland recalls that 86,000
clients have accepted the commercial offer Dexia Aanbod and by doing so have
waived the right to seek the nulification of their contracts. For the purposes
of the public being fully informed, Dexia Group refers to the publication made
on 4 March 2004 in its Activity Report on the result of the 2003 financial year
(pages 77 to 79), for all the details relating to the nature of litigation in
progress and the stakes involved in terms of capital. The group will make a
situation update in its Activity Report for first half-year 2004.
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