A&O set for TI Group's US defence

Allen & Overy may soon be defending its client TI Group against fraud allegations in the US courts. New York sources say the US Justice Department is about to file an official complaint against the company.

The US Government is expected to be wading in on a

$60 million action originally arising from a former employee of TI Group subsidiary Dowty Woodville Polymer, which supplies the USAF with seals for swing-wing aircraft.

The former employee, Jeffrey Thistlethwaite, warned his company in 1991 that it was overcharging the US Government for the seals, according to his New York lawyers Engel & McCarney. His original action is under the False Claims Act.

TI Group has instructed Allen & Overy and US firm Crowell & Moring, defence contract specialists.

Tony Sumner, TI Group commercial director, says of Allen & Overy's role: “They are interpreting the American law in this case, in conjunction with US lawyers. We will look at the substance of the case as and when we receive a writ.”

The case centres on contracts worth more than $52 million for 7,000 wing slot seals.

TI Group says it is continuing to sell the seals to the Defense Department.