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'Nothing new' in DC Legal’s Great Southern statement of claim, says Bank

8 October 2010 |Media centre

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank today said there was “nothing new” in a statement of claim against it lodged in the Federal Court by Sydney law firm DC Legal on behalf of investors in the Great Southern managed investment schemes (MIS).

“The claim document itself is hopelessly inadequate, but to the extent that we can make any sense of it at all, it covers the same ground as a separate class action filed in the Victorian Supreme Court by another law firm,” the bank’s managing director, Mike Hirst, said.

Mr Hirst said Bendigo and Adelaide Bank had always acted within the letter and spirit of the law relating to loans it provided to investors in Great Southern MIS.

He said the bank’s share price and credit rating had been negatively affected by allegations relating to its portfolio of loans to Great Southern MIS investors and, as a result, the bank is determined to ensure its rights are protected.

“We now look forward to demonstrating through the courts what we have always argued – specifically that these loans are legitimate and are required to be re-paid by these investors,” Mr Hirst said.

The bank is vigorously defending the separate class action lodged in the Victorian Supreme Court by another legal firm.

“The bank has applied to have that claim struck out and is awaiting imminent judgment on the matter.

“As we have in that case, we will vigorously defend this action filed by DC Legal and will also seek to have it struck out at the earliest opportunity.”

Mr Hirst described a DC Legal media release announcing the legal action as “nothing more than an attempt to attract more plaintiffs to its class action”.

The bank would write to DC Legal asking it to correct misleading statements made in its media release.

“The firm claims to be acting on behalf of 2000 investors when in fact there are just 230 of its clients that have Great Southern loans with our bank.

“And contrary to DC Legal’s claims, most of the managed investment schemes are ongoing under new management with the prospect of producing returns for grower investors.

“Bendigo and Adelaide Bank continues to work with all relevant parties to protect grower investor interests in the schemes.”

Investors in Great Southern MIS are typically high net worth individuals who have been advised by their accountant or financial planner to invest in the schemes, and have received significant tax benefits already from their investment.

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