Coopers settles over Barings

After an adjournment earlier this week for further out-of-court talks, the case returned to court this morning where Charles Aldous QC, counsel for the Baring’s liquidators, announced the claims against Coopers & Lybrand companies had been settled in principle.

At this stage, however, the agreement is not binding and has to be approved by a High Court commercial judge. This is expected to be done before the end of July.

No settlement, however, has been reached with Deloitte & Touche, which also undertook audit work for the bank. Mr Justice Evans-Lombe was told the case against Deloittes Singapore would now reach court in October.

The court action was brought by liquidators at Ernst & Young on behalf of Baring’s creditors. Initially the case, which was expected to last up to two years and rack up a legal costs bill running into tens of millions of pounds, had been scheduled to open on Monday this week.

But after talks behind closed doors the judge adjourned the case until today for further settlement talks.

If it ultimately gets under way in October and runs its full course the case is still expected to turn into the longest ever and most expensive action in British legal history. The action has been brought in the wake of the collapse of Barings as a result derivatives trading losses incurred by rogue trader Nick Leeson.

An E&Y spokesman said: ‘The parties to the action, excluding Deloitte & Touche, today supported an application to the court for an adjournme…to allow documentation of an agreement which could be reached in principle between the parties.

‘Obviously the adjournment was granted and it is anticipated that such documentation will be completed by 23 July.’

He would not comment on whether or not the liquidators would continue to pursue or attempt to settle with Deloittes.

A case management conference on the way the remainder of the case should be handled is now scheduled to take place on 10 July. Documents detailing the final settlement of the case must be submitted by 23 July.

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