Co-op settles for pounds 750,000 payment

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The Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS) has accepted a settlement of pounds 750,000 in return for dropping its civil action against Andrew Regan, Lanica Trust, Galileo Group, Allan Green and David Lyons over their aborted bid for CWS.

The CWS launched a civil claim for damages on 18 April over the disclosure of confidential CWS documents passed by Mr Green to Mr Regan. Both the CWS and the Regan camp refused to comment on the amount of yesterday's full and final settlement, but it is understood to be around pounds 750,000. Lanica did not contribute to the payment.

The CWS's criminal prosecution against Mr Regan and Mr Lyons over the alleged theft of seven boxes of CWS documents will still go ahead, the company said yesterday.

Mr Regan and Mr Lyons said that they "intend to defend these proceedings vigorously". Lanica, Mr Regan's company, said it would shortly announce the date on which its audited results for 1996 would be published and that its listing would be restored at the same time.

The settlement is the latest chapter in the humiliating climbdown by Mr Regan, 31, and his followers after their failed pounds 1.2bn hostile break -up bid for the Co-op.

The bid fell apart last month when a High Court judge described the transfer of CWS documents from Mr Green, a CWS director, to Mr Regan as a "gross, wilful and disgraceful breach of confidence". Mr Green was subsequently sacked.

Mr Regan formed Galileo in December 1996 to use as a bid vehicle. His plan was to appeal over the heads of the board, who were opposed to him, directly to the Co-op's membership. Lanica invested pounds 602,000 in Galileo. When the bid failed Galileo was put into voluntary liquidation by Mr Regan.

The liquidator of Galileo is considering bringing claims against some of Mr Regan's former advisers to recover substantial damages. Lanica, as one of the shareholders in Galileo, may benefit if Galileo is successful in these claims, Lanica said yesterday.