One of the UKs longest-running fraud cases finally ended this autumn after a decade of wrangling.
Japanese copper producer Sumitomo was suing French bank Cr裩t Lyonnais Rouse (a subsidiary of Cr裩t Lyonnais) for dishonestly assisting convicted fraudster Yasuo Hamanaka in unauthorised transactions. The value of the claim was $1.1bn (590m).
During the mid-1990s, Hamanaka carried out a number of copper trades that lost Sumitomo millions of dollars. He was convicted of fraud in 1998, but the company pursued claims against other parties it said were involved.
Cr裩t Lyonnais Rouse was being sued because it was the clearing broker for several of Hamanakas transactions. In October this year, the trial, set down for 30 weeks, began in the High Court. Sumitomos solicitors Ashurst, with Chris Vigrass leading the team, instructed Christopher Carr QC of One Essex Court.
Meanwhile, Serle Courts Michael Briggs QC was instructed by Matthew Newick, a Clifford Chance commercial litigation partner, for Cr裩t Lyonnais Rouse.
However, after less than two weeks of the trial the parties settled for an undisclosed amount. Cr裩t Lyonnais Rouse agreed to pay Sumitomo a contribution to the Japanese companys legal costs. The settlement came after both sides had the opportunity to air their grievances in opening statements, but before any witnesses had been called.
For Sumitomo and the bank, the settlement prevents any more potentially damaging information from being aired in a public forum. For the barristers, it means empty diaries and no income until more work comes in.