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Theodore Goddard has dropped out of representing five defendants linked to one of the world's largest money laundering cases after its clients refused to incur further legal costs
The defendants are claimed to be linked to a $240m (£157.2m) fraud against Brazilian bank Banco Noroeste, which resulted in laundering probes in 13 jurisdictions and which affects banks including Barclays. But on Friday (9 August) the High Court was placed in the bizarre position of hearing a claim for an interim payment of $150m (£98.2m) against Theodore Goddard's former clients, despite the fact that they had no lawyers or barristers representing them. A letter written by Theodore Goddard and read to the court on Friday stated: "Our clients are not prepared to incur any further costs in relation to the UK proceedings. They have a very restricted position on costs because of the terms of the freezing order." A hearing was due to take place on 26 July challenging England as a jurisdiction to hear the case, but it did not take place because the Theodore Goddard letter was issued two days earlier. The letter also stated that the defendants no longer wanted to take part in the English proceedings. The following day, Theodore Goddard successfully applied, with its clients' consent, to go off record. Theodore Goddard, which was involved for several months in the case, did not file a single document in its clients' defence. John Lomas, the partner formerly involved, said no defence was needed because of his clients' jurisdictional challenge. He declined to comment on his reason for coming off record.