Sting steers Coutts into court over u5m

Roger Pearson looks ahead

Pop giant Sting is suing the Queen's bankers, Coutts & Co for nearly u5 million.

The action, scheduled to come on in the Commercial Court later this year, has been launched by the star's company, Steerpike (Overseas) Ltd. The company says it had a current account at the bank's Kensington branch until February 1990 when it moved it to the Sloane Square branch and that the account was governed by a mandate authorising the bank to act in relation to the account on instructions of any director of the company.

However, it is alleged that between 15 August 1988 and 18 August 1992 the bank wrongly debited the account without proper authority, with various amounts totalling u4,890,000 and transferred them to a Bank of Scotland account in the name of Moore Sloan and Co re GM Sumner.

The account was also debited with charges of u505 in respect of the transfers, said to have been made on the purported instructions of a Keith J Moore.

However, Steerpike claims that Moore was at no time one of its directors and that no director ever gave instructions for the money to be transferred.

In these circumstances it will argue that Coutts acted wrongfully and without its authority in making the transfers. It claims that in October 1992 its solicitors wrote to the bank demanding payment of the money transferred and the charges, but that in breach of contract Coutts has failed to make the required repayment.

Steerpike is seeking declarations that the transfers should be regarded as having been carried out without authority and therefore of no effect. It will also seek repayment of the money along with possible damages for breach of contract.

The company's writ specifies 30 transfers of money from 15 August 1988 to 18 August 1992, ranging from two transfers of u70,000 to six of u200,000 and one of u300,000.