Links, Gianni and Credit Suisse settle Parmalat negligence claims

A £115m professional negligence dispute between Linklaters, its former Italian alliance partner Gianni Origoni Grippo & Partners and investment bank Credit Suisse has settled for an undisclosed sum.

This brings an end to two claims relating to advice given to the bank on a deal with Italian food company Parmalat in 2001.

In February, Credit Suisse launched proceedings against Linklaters, claiming the firm had been negligent when it advised the bank on an investment in a convertible bond issue from Parmalat’s Brazilian subsidiary Parmalat Brazil (11 February 2011). The terms of the deal and a complementary forward sale agreement saw the company pay the bank €248m in return for future share entitlement.

Capital markets partner Simon Firth led the Linklaters team on the deal, which came two years before Parmalat went into administration in December 2003. However, as he sought advice from Gianni, from which the magic circle firm split acrimoniously in 2004 (15 March 2004), Linklaters issued its own High Court negligence claim against Gianni in March of this year (21 March 2011).

Credit Suisse had claimed that advice that said it would only be liable for claw back proceedings if it had, or should have had, prior knowledge of Parmalat’s insolvency was negligent. Linklaters claimed that this advice had come from Gianni.

Slaughter and May’s Deborah Finkler advised Linklaters on both claims, with Allen & Overy litigation partner John O’Conor advising Credit Suisse.

Clyde & Co advised Linklaters’ insurer while CMS Cameron McKenna partner Peter Maguire acted for Gianni

In a statement a Credit Suisse spokesperson told The Lawyer: “The proceedings commenced earlier this year by Credit Suisse International against Linklaters, to which Gianno Origoni Grippo & Partners was joined as a defendant, have been resolved on a basis satisfactory to all parties.”