RBS director to stand trial over executive pay

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The Independent Online

A director of Royal Bank of Scotland is to stand trial in Spain on charges of misappropriating funds worth nearly €160m.

A director of Royal Bank of Scotland is to stand trial in Spain on charges of misappropriating funds worth nearly €160m.

Emilio Botin, the chairman of Spain's biggest bank, Santander Central Hispano, and a non-executive director of RBS, will have to fight a legal case brought by shareholders who are angry about payments which were made to two former executives at the Spanish bank.

Santander's former co-chairman Jose Maria Amusategui, and its ex-chief executive, Angel Corcostegui, received golden goodbyes in 2001 on leaving the bank. They resigned after a period of infighting at the bank.

The two will also have to defend themselves against the lawsuit, which alleges that funds have been criminally misused. The case was lodged with Spain's national court.

Mr Botin, 69, is the third generation of his family to run Santander. He joined the board of RBS after Santander bought 10 per cent of Scotland's largest financial services group, which also holds a stake in the Spanish bank. The two have participated in various joint ventures on the continent. Santander issued a statement denying the payments to its two former executives were illegal. It said the payments had been approved unanimously by the board.

Mr Amusategui and Mr Corcostegui collected the money when they resigned during a three-year transition period after merging Banco Central Hispano, which they ran, with Banco Santander, a larger competitor led by Mr Botin.

Santander's board has contended that the payments, largely for pension benefits and bonuses, were allowed by the bank's bylaws.

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