Shareholders begin Dexia mega-trial to reclaim €1.5 billion
Share article:
Share article:

Shareholders begin Dexia mega-trial to reclaim €1.5 billion

© Belga

The trial begins today in Brussels in which members of the Arco cooperative try to reclaim up to €1.5 billion in investments lost when Dexia bank went bust in 2011.

Dexia failed because of bad investments. One of the major shareholders was Arco, a cooperative associated with the Christian workers’ movement ACV. Their savers, known as cooperants, numbered 800,000 and their total investment €1.5 billion.

Dexia had been seen as a safe investment for the cooperants, most of whom were more like members of a savings club that active investors. With the fall of Dexia, they lost everything.

Politicians at the time had promised them their investments were safe, and they would get their money back, but the courts put paid to that promise. If ordinary shareholders lost their investment, the courts decided, then Arco investors must be treated no differently.

Today, 2,172 Arco cooperants will turn up in the new massive courtroom at the old Nato headquarters in Haren for a trial to try to get their savings back. Together, they are claiming just over €9 million – the original investment plus interest.

The claim targets Arco, former Arco CEO Francine Swiggers, Belfius (formerly known as Dexia) and the Belgian state.

The state is being targeted because then prime minister Yves Leterme (CD&V) has advised Arco cooperants to invest heavily in the failing Dexia, using his influence on the Catholic movement. He gave the assurance – or at least let it be understood – that their investment would be guaranteed by the government, in the same way as saving accounts are.

But that was not the case then, and after the courts have finished with the matter, it is not the case now. Any Arco investment in Dexia was as risky as any other. The cooperants claim they were duped, and are now seeking redress.

The Nato building, henceforth to be known as Justitia, is being used because of the large number of civil parties. The former headquarters of the alliance has been thoroughly refitted to house the forthcoming trial of those accused of involvement in the 2016 terrorist attacks in Zaventem and Brussels.

Proceedings will take place on five days, ending on 30 June. A verdict is not expected until after the summer holidays.

Latest news

Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
Up to 100 km/h winds expected across Belgium on Wednesday night
Gusts of up to 100 km/h are expected across Belgium on Wednesday night, according to the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI), which has issued a ...
Cycling traffic officially added to VRT’s traffic bulletin
Usually a list of updates for drivers on busy roads, traffic bulletins will now include the latest travel news for cyclists in Belgium, VRT announced ...
MEPs call for European strategy to protect workers from asbestos
Members of the European Parliament are calling on the Commission to create a strategy for removing all abestos from buildings in order to reduce the ...
Mandatory vaccine for carers: employers call for sanctions
In a notice submitted by the National Council for Work (CNT), employers have called for heavy penalties for healthcare workers who refuse to receive ...
Police pension protest blocks several Brussels crossroads
On Wednesday, around 350 police officers expressed their dissatisfaction about the unclear pension scheme, low salaries and politicised police unions ...
Belgium in Brief: A Consultative Committee Sequel
Sequels often have a lot to live up to and when it comes to movie franchises, it gets difficult to keep up the hype once you get towards the final ...
25 years ago today: 300,000 people marched in white against child abuse
On this day 25 years ago, over 300,000 people marched in Brussels to demand a more effective justice system and to support the families of Julie, ...
Windy weather forecast should lower gas prices
After weeks of relatively calm conditions, a return to windy weather should lower Europe's soaring energy prices. Wind turbines in the UK and Germany ...
EC calls on candidate countries to focus on fundamental reforms before they can join the EU
The European Commission adopted yesterday its 2021 Enlargement Package, providing a detailed assessment of the state of play and the progress made by ...
Cigarette-eating robot patrols Ghent streets to fight littering
A litter fighting (and eating) robot will be patrolling the streets of Ghent in the coming weeks in an effort to raise awareness of the growing ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...