Insolvency – Coopers in Barings fight

Coopers & Lybrand is facing a £1bn trial in early 2001 over its audits of Barings, according to the collapsed bank’s liquidator Ernst & Young, which is expected to be a given a trial date on Monday.

The move follows the release of rogue trader Nick Leeson earlier this month from jail in Singapore, after serving more than four years for his role in the 1995 crash of the UK’s oldest merchant bank.

A spokesman told Accountancy Age: ‘We plan to set up a meeting with Leeson soon, as we believe he may be able to provide us with help on the case. We are hoping to get a trial date on Monday.’

Liquidators have already met with his lawyer Stephen Pollard in order to hand over a signed affidavit detailing Leeson’s assets.

Each side has now filed its pleadings and they are now exchanging documents.

One specialist insolvency lawyer said the case was extremely complicated and was made more difficult since this was the first time that Coopers has enjoined nine former executives of Barings as third parties, in order to show the auditors should not carry the can alone.

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