Slaughters serves Barings protective writ

Slaughter and May is handling a 'protective' legal action on behalf of Barings' administrators, Ernst & Young, against former derivatives trader Nick Leeson.

A High Court writ was issued to “preserve the position of the administrators of Bishopscourt (BS) and Bishopscourt (BB & Co)”, formerly Baring Securities and Baring Brothers & Co said a spokesman for the receivers.

Deborah Finkler, Slaughters partner in charge of litigation on the administration, said the writ will be served through the German courts because Leeson is still held in a Frankfurt jail awaiting extradition proceedings by Singapore authorities.

“It is happening. We simply wanted to make sure the writ would be served in Germany rather than Singapore,” said Finkler. The procedures would “probably” be simpler through the German courts, she said.

Leeson's lawyer Stephen Pollard has accepted a proposal from Finkler that the administrators postpone any further step in the action – normally the serving of a statement of claim.

Also proposed is an arrangement whereby either side can give seven days notice in the event of any change in circumstances. The main reason for the proposal, said Finkler, is that “we haven't found evidence of Leeson possessing any assets. We are keeping an open mind.”

Finkler hit out at alleged inaccuracies in the press over how the action arose.

“It's not true that we decided to sue Leeson when he was interviewed by David Frost. It's also not true that we are going to sue Lisa Leeson or family members. We don't see what cause of action we would have against anybody else.”

Some reports said the action was aimed to stop Leeson benefiting financially after selling his story to the media.