Acrimony and legal fees mount up in Deloitte-Bank of England saga

The Bank of Credit & Commerce International (BCCI) trial turned bitter last week as Deloitte pointed the finger at the Bank of England, accusing it of exploiting the recent Equi-table Life settlement.

Last Tuesday (4 October) it emerged that Deloitte, the liquidator of BCCI, had made three attempts to settle its 12-year misfeasance claim with the bank – most recently before the bank’s key witness Peter Cooke took to the stand.

A source in the Deloitte camp told The Lawyer that the bank had deliberately taken advantage of the atmosphere created by the recent settlement of Equitable’s claim against Ernst & Young to leak the confidential settlement approaches. The bank denied it had leaked the information.

Lovells partner Christopher Grierson, for Deloitte, would only say: “The liquidators haven’t made an offer to the bank to throw in the towel and pay the bank’s costs.” He declined to comment further.

The bank said in a statement: “We have always made it clear that there would be no deal and no negotiations.”

The case is expected to continue into next year, and Mr Justice Tomlinson may hand down his judgment next autumn. It is uncertain whether the bank will be ordered to call further witnesses who have given written statements.

It is understood that legal costs for the bank now total around £75m, with Deloitte’s estimated at about £37m. Both sides have instructed large teams of barristers. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, for the bank, has three silks, led by Fountain Court Chambers’ Nicholas Stadlen QC, and three juniors. The liquidators have four silks, led by Essex Court Chambers’ Gordon Pollock QC, and two juniors.