24.02.2020

Schalast wins together with Bureau Brandeis in Amsterdam for the HKB Bank investor process over € 50 million

HKB Bank GmbH, based in Frankfurt am Main, was sued in the Dutch courts (Rechtsbank Amsterdam) in a class action for approximately € 50 million by a class action vehicle (Stichtig HKB), behind which there are alleged investors unknown to the Bank. The basis of the lawsuit was the claim that agreements concluded by the bank that were advantageous to it should have a protective effect in favour of the presumed investors. The strategic approach that agreements should have a protective effect in favour of investors allegedly behind an investment has recently been seen more frequently in lawsuits on the banking side. This is particularly the case when there are apparently no contractual or tortious claims directly against the bank. Schalast, for example, was already involved in the investor litigation surrounding the former HSH-Nordbank (now Hamburg Commercial Bank), in which the investors' point of contact was also contracts that were supposed to have a protective effect in favour of third parties.

In the lawsuit against the HKB Bank, the court in the Netherlands decided in its final ruling of 19 February 2020 that there are several arguments in favour of the unfoundedness of the class action suit. However, this was ultimately not the point. The Dutch court has already dismissed the class action brought by Stichtig HKB Bank in its entirety on the grounds of inadmissibility.

The lawsuit attracted widespread press coverage - particularly in the Netherlands - because the class action vehicle carried out intensive and sometimes very pointed press work.

The class action vehicle can appeal against the decision until 19 May 2020.

Schalast worked closely with the Amsterdam-based litigation boutique Bureau Brandeis on this matter.