Hamanaka prevents Ashurst pitching for Calyon panel place

Ashurst will be shut out of French corporate and investment bank Calyon’s forthcoming panel review thanks to its work acting against one of its subsidiaries in a mammoth litigation that settled last year.

The firm advised Japanese copper trading corporation Sumitomo in its claim against Calyon arm Crédit Lyonnais Rouse, the clearing broker in the notorious Hamanaka fraud case. The litigation was ongoing over four years and concluded two weeks into the trial in October 2004.

It is understood that this instruction will prevent Ashurst from pitching for a place on Calyon’s panel.

This is despite Ashurst’s Paris office having acted for Calyon, together with Intermediate Capital Group, on the E961m (£656.8m) financing of BC Partners’ acquisition of frozen food retailer Picard Surgelés in November.

The firm’s French office has a strong private equity practice, although this suffered last year when star partner Thomas Forschbach defected to Latham & Watkins.

As revealed by The Lawyer earlier this month (2 May), Calyon has launched its first formal panel review since the bank was formed through the acquisition of Crédit Lyonnais by Crédit Agricole.

Traditionally, French banks and corporates work with an informal list of preferred lawyers, but it is becoming increasingly common for more formal panels to be drawn up.

Calyon’s in-house legal team is led by Pierre-Henry Broffard.

Ashurst declined to comment.