CF Partners v Barclays & Tricorona

CF Partners (UK) LLP v Barclays Bank plc & Tricorona AB

May, 30 days, Chancery Division

For the claimant CF Partners (UK):

Brick Court Chambers’ Tim Lord QC leading One Essex Court’s Orlando Gledhill and Brick Court Chambers’ Richard Eschwege, instructed by RPC partners Tom Hibbert and Andrew McGregor.

For the defendant Barclays Bank Plc and Tricorona AB:

3 Verulam Buildings’ Ewan McQuater QC leading David Quest and Sandy Phipps, instructed by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partners Simon Orton and Richard Chalk

Banking giant Barclays and its former Swedish subsidiary, Tricorona, face claims in excess of €150m from CF Partners, a UK advisory and trading firm.

Barclays is accused of misusing confidential information it was given by CF Partners, which had approached the bank to provide the financing for the potential deal. Stockholm-based Tricorona was sought-after because it had a vast portfolio of carbon credits in the niche area of hydro power projects.

Two years after the talks between CF Partners and Tricorona stalled, Barclays stepped in to take over the company using the information provided by CF Partners. In July 2010 the bank took a 85 per cent stake in Tricorona for £98m.

CF Partners alleges that Barclays and Tricorona misused its confidential information in the course of arranging their own deal to the detriment of CF Partners.

The claim was launched little more than a year after the Barclays deal, with RPC partners Tom Hibbert and Andrew McGregor instructed for the claimants. Brick Court takes the lead on advocacy with Tim Lord QC instructed.

He will face 3 Verulam Buildings’ Ewan McQuater QC, who has been jointly instructed by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partners Simon Orton and Richard Chalk for the bank and Tricorona.

The case will give an insight into the specialised market for carbon credits, a one-time boom area for banks. Hopes were pinned on the 2009 UN climate summit in Copenhagen to produce a deal to force countries to cut emissions.

The US was also thought to be on the verge of introducing a cap scheme. In the end, no agreement was reached.

The case also involves a number of topical issues relating to investment banks’ corporate governance, including the handling of client information, the implementation of information barriers and the management of conflicts of interest.

The decision will contribute to the development of the law on the misuse on confidential information and, in particular, misuse of confidential “business opportunities”.