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Amhurst Brown Colombotti claims $10m from third party
The High Court this week will hear the continuation of part of a massive fraud case which includes a $10m (£6.9m) claim by solicitors against third parties. Last Tuesday Mr Justice Thomas at the High Court heard the first of a six-day trial arising out of allegations that Dubai Aluminium Co (Dubal) former sales and marketing manager Al Alawi received secret commissions of about $800,000 (£553,304) from third parties. This is just one of several massive actions brought by Dubal against a variety of parties, including solicitors and accountants. Total claims amount to hundreds of millions of pounds. In this action, a freezing order on material obtained earlier by Dubal's agents was not subject to professional privilege, after a court had ruled that it was obtained in a way that breached the Data Protection Act. Steven Philippsohn, a partner from niche City firm Philippsohn Crawfords Berwald, representing, has instructed Clive Freedman QC of Littleton Chambers for Alawi. Philippsohn's firm has strong Middle Eastern and fraud practices. Dubal is represented by Michael Cranston of Reed Smith Warner Cranston, who instructed Mark Pelling of Monckton Chambers. In a separate action arising out of alleged fraud in Dubal, law firm Amhurst Brown Colombotti, its predecessor Amhurst Brown Martin & Nicholson and its partner Anthony Amhurst are all seeking through the House of Lords $10m from third party Hany Salaam. It was originally alleged that Dubal's former chief executive Ian Livingstone conspired with Salaam, with the assistance of Amhurst, to steal $50m (£34.58m). The firms and Amhurst were originally ordered to pay out the $10m as part of the 'Amhurst Settlement', in return for the dropping of Dubal's charges of dishonesty against them. The firms then took action to pass the bulk of the $10m payment on to third parties - Salaam and Mahdi Tajir, who was allegedly involved in the fraud action, which they won. This order against Salaam and Tajir was then overturned. The firms are seeking to overturn that decision in the Lords. The firms were originally accused of liability under the Partnership Act 1890. The Court of Appeal has since ruled that this had no chance of succeeding. Philip Brook Smith of Fountain Court is acting for the firms with Jonathan Sumption QC of Brick Court Chambers, and is instructed by Barlow Lyde & Gilbert. George Leggatt, instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna, is acting for Anthony Amhurst. Tajir is represented by Ali Malek QC and Sara Cockerill, who were instructed by Reid Minty. Biddle & Co originally instructed Nigel Davis QC on behalf of Salaam; Davis has since gone to the bench and his successor is unknown.