Pyrrhic Victory For RBS In Highland CDO Dispute

Dec 15 2010 | 1:42am ET

It took a few tries, but the Royal Bank of Scotland has won a collateralized debt obligation lawsuit against hedge fund Highland Capital Management.

A British court awarded the bank about £19 million, six months after first deciding in the bank's favor. Still, Justice Michael Burton failed to grant RBS everything it wanted; in September, the bank asked for about €40 million, what it claimed was the entire amount of its loss. RBS was also ordered to pay its own costs.

At issue was a CDO that did not close because of the "collapse of the financial markets" two years ago. The judge said that Highland should cover the difference between the amount of its outstanding financing for the failed CDO and the value of the loans its seized when it called in the financing.

But the judge also took aim at RBS, accusing it of "deception" and Sam Griffiths, head of European high-yield trading, of lying. RBS is now investigating Griffiths.

The bank remains embroiled in a lawsuit with Highland in New York, where RBS accused Highland of deceiving it into restructuring a CDO.

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