Court postpones hearing in dispute between Orcel and Santander


Adds explanation from court, details on witnesses and hearing

MADRID, June 11 (Reuters) - A court hearing in the dispute between Santander SAN.MC and Italian banker Andrea Orcel over a withdrawn offer to make him CEO of the Spanish bank has been postponed from its scheduled date on June 17, the court said in a statement on Friday.

The court added it would not be possible to hold the hearing with parties testifying remotely and that a new date would be set in due course.

The public row between Santander and Orcel ended up in a Madrid court after Spain's largest lender dropped plans to make Orcel, previously the top investment banker at Swiss bank UBS UBSG.S, chief executive as a result of a dispute over his pay package.

The proceedings were previously suspended on May 19 to allow UBS UBSG.S Chairman Axel Weber and Mark Shelton, head of performance and rewards at the bank, to testify remotely.

On Friday, a court spokesman said that judge Javier Sanchez Beltran had decided to postpone the hearing again as it was not possible for all four pending witnesses to testify on the same day next week.

Santander's general secretary Jaime Perez Renovales, who signed the original job offer, and Roberto di Bernardini, the bank's head of human resources at the time, have also been called to testify as part of the court hearing.

Santander declined to comment on Friday, while Andrea Orcel's legal team was not immediately available for comment.

Last month, Santander boss Ana Botin defended in court the bank's decision to withdraw the multi-million euro offer.

The case revolves around whether a four-page offer letter to Orcel was a binding job contract or a non-binding initial offer.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Jesus Aguado; editing by Andrei Khalip and Inti Landauro)

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