A statement from RBS, previously head of one of Dubai Groups creditors committees, said the three banks were "left with no alternative but to pursue the legal recourse available under the facility documentation".
The action is being brought against Dubai Financial Group, the financial holding company of Dubai Group.
Banks have previously agreed restructurings of government-related entities in Dubai outside the courts. That is partly because of Dubais undeveloped insolvency framework and partly because banks have sought to maintain client relationships among the emirates entangled corporate structure.
In 2011, international and local creditors agreed a $25 billion restructuring of Dubai World, one of three overarching holding companies in the emirate. Unlike Dubai World, however, Dubai Group is not owned by the government but by Dubai Holding, which is in turn owned by Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, Dubais ruler.
Dubais Supreme Fiscal Committee the government entity that oversaw the restructuring of Dubai World disappointed creditors earlier this year by saying it would stay out of the Dubai Group restructuring. RBS, Commerzbank and Standard Bank subsequently pulled out of talks with Dubai Group in the summer, although other banks continued to negotiate and support the firms proposals.
Following the news of the three banks legal action, Reuters reported a statement from Dubai Group saying: "We believe that we can reach a consensual agreement with our creditors." RBS also says the three banks preference was always to reach an agreement outside the courts and that they would still be open to such agreement if a commercially acceptable offer were made.
No viable solution
Nevertheless, they say the lack of a satisfactory proposal has led to the action they are now taking. "Despite the banks goodwill and numerous possible long-term concessions offered by the banks, no viable solution has been reached," said the most recent statement, referring to obligations under a syndicated murabaha facility, which it said have not been paid since 2010.
Dubai Groups assets include Cypriot lender Marfin Popular Bank, as well as Egyptian banking group EFG Hermes.