Copper market faces claim deluge by investors

City lawyers are predicting an explosion of US-style litigation following turmoil in the UK copper market where Japan's Sumitomo Corporation lost £1 billion.

Sumitomo said the massive losses were chalked up following unauthorised dealings by rogue trader Yasuo Hamanaka.

Sources told The Lawyer that several big US investors are considering whether to take legal action under the terms of the 1986 Financial Services Act.

Investors have lost large amounts of money following a fall in copper prices in the past few weeks.

They are prepared to head to the courts in a bid to recoup their losses if they can be persuaded by legal advisers that they have a reasonable chance of winning the actions.

Simon Gleeson, a financial services lawyer at City commodities law firm Richards Butler, commented: “Section 62 of the FSA allows corporations to sue each other for dealing when in possession of unpublished price-sensitive information. “

Observers point out that although most criminal actions of insider dealing have been unsuccessful, a plaintiff under section 62 would only have to satisfy the lower, civil standard of proof.