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US firm Jones Day Reavis & Pogue appears in the High Court today accused of professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty
It is alleged that the firm acted for both sides in a share placement by the Saab brothers at the Saudi American Bank without disclosing the conflict.In relation to today's case (28 October) which is for an unliquidated sum of damages, Jones Day is being sued by Cyprus-based brothers Ayoub-Raid Saab and Fadi Saab. However, there is another case in the Chancery Division brought by the Saudi American Bank arising out of the same facts, which has been stayed pending the outcome of the Saab brothers' case. A second defendant in Saab is Mohamed Amersi, a former employee at Jones Day. Amersi has since left the firm, but it is thought that he will give evidence in the case. Saab was lodged on the 8 August 2000, and the Saudi American Bank case was lodged one month later. It is believed, however, that Jones Day was advising the Saabs on the placement of shares in a Lebanese property development. According to the Saabs and the Saudi American Bank, the firm failed to disclose the clear conflict of interest in advising both parties. It is understood, however, that Jones Day will argue that the Saabs knew it was advising the Saudi American Bank and that it had in fact never agreed to provide the Saabs with advice in relation to the negotiations. Jones Day is advised by Richards Butler and Stephen Rubin QC of Fountain Court; Amersi is advised by Barlow Lyde & Gilbert and Saab by Lovells. Herbert Smith is acting for the bank. Jones Day refused to comment.