Seven partners of a former Middle East firm bought out by Denton Wilde Sapte have avoided a claim of more than $600m (£419m) made by a company owned by the ruler of Dubai.
Dubai Aluminium Co (Dubal) has issued a notice of discontinuance of its three-and-a-half-year claims of professional negligence against partners at Fox & Gibbons. Ince & Co's David Rutherford, who is acting for the partners, said Dubal's $323m (£225.32m) claim would have been doubled when interest and costs were included. The partners involved were Stephen Curtis, Christopher Dixon, Robert Gibbons, Paul Gibbs, Anthony Glaister, Jeremy Key and Robert Sprawson. All but Gibbons disputed the claim that they were equity partners while Fox & Gibbons acted for Dubal; only equity partners were liable. Dubal is likely to have to pay Fox & Gibbons's legal and court costs. Dubal settled days before a case management conference. The size of Dubal's claim relates to the cost of six transactions the company claimed it was forced into as a result of the partners' actions. One included a purchase of aluminum worth $186m (£129.75m). The other involved Marc Rich, the alleged fraudster given clemency by Bill Clinton. Disbursements of $50m (£34.88m) were paid from Dubal in the form of commissions, and other similar payments under a consultancy agreement with Rich & Co, a company owned by Rich. A claim for a similar sum against Dubal's former auditors, Deloitte Haskins & Sells and Coopers Lybrand Deloitte, collapsed in July. Dubal's case was that it instructed Fox & Gibbons to prepare a report concerning the termination of a consultancy contract Dubal was entered into in 1979 by its then chief executive officer Ian Livingstone. Around this time, millions of dollars had been paid by Dubal to Gulf Resources Corporation (GRC). Dubal alleged that Fox & Gibbons knew of facts suggesting a relationship between Livingstone and the individual believed to be behind GRC, Hani Salaam. If Dubal had known this it would have led to the removal of Livingstone before he committed Dubal to a series of allegedly disadvantageous contracts, between 1987 and 1992. Fox & Gibbons' liabilities were not passed to Dentons.