Lovells wins Deloitte appeal against Bank of India’s BCCI protestations

Lovells celebrated a Court of Appeal victory last week on behalf of the liquidators of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) against the Bank of India (BoI).

The court has upheld a March 2004 decision by Mr Justice Patten, which found that BoI had knowingly participated in BCCI’s fraudulent trading. It said Judge Patten had been correct to find BoI chief manager for the UK and Europe KL Samant “dishonest” for his participation in circular transactions between BoI and BCCI.

The case is connected to the ongoing High Court case against the Bank of England and a similar claim against the Bank of America, which settled out of court last year. The litigation follows the collapse of BCCI in 1991, with the liquidators claiming that the Bank of England failed to regulate BCCI correctly.

Dismissing BoI’s appeal, the court said Samant’s knowledge of the transactions should be held as corporate knowledge of the bank. The judge’s $82m (£45m) award to the liquidator stands.

The case is believed to be the first time that a bank has been found liable for fraudulent trading in the UK.

Lovells partner Hugh Lyons said: “What it shows is that banks and other corporates who become involved in the fraudulent conduct of any other company will be held liable.”

Lyons instructed New Square Chambers’ Charles Purle QC for the liquidators, Deloitte & Touche. Penning-tons’ Rustem Dubash, head of the firm’s India division, acted for BoI, instructing 3/4 South Square’s Gabriel Moss QC as counsel.