Clydes and 3VB act as Liverpool FC’s former owners take further action against RBS

Clyde & Co and 3 Verulam Buildings (3VB) have won a role on the ongoing battle between Liverpool FC’s former owners and RBS.

Clydes partner Paul Friedman has instructed 3VB’s Ali Malek QC and Christopher Harris for Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who are seeking damages from various parties over the loss of the football club in 2010.

The American pair claim to have been left £140m out of pocket in an “epic swindle” when they lost control at Anfield and insist the club was sold way below its market value.

The case is being heard in the High Court this week and is the latest instalment of the ongoing battle. Earlier court action saw Hicks and Gillett try to block RBS, which was owed more than £200m by the club, from reconstituting the club’s board (12 October 2010). The bank ultimately sold the club to New England Sports Ventures (NESV) (6 October 2010).

Last year the Americans lost an anti-suit injunction against the bank, meaning that any further legal action would have to be brought in the English courts (18 February 2011).

On all previous matters Hicks and Gillett were advised by Peters & Peters partners Jonathan Tickner and Keith Oliver, who instructed Maitland Chambers’ Paul Girolami QC.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Patrick Swain and Erskine Chambers’ Richard Snowden QC have advised the bank throughout.

Ex-Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton and his fellow English directors Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre, who are alleged to have conspired to force the sale of the football club against the owners’ express wishes, are represented by Paul Harris QC and Owain Draper of Monckton Chambers. They were instructed by Couchmans partner Satish Khandke.

RBS and the directors believe the latest legal action is unsubstantiated. The bank claims that failed repayments on its £237m loan was the reason for the sale to NESV.

Mr Justice Peter Smith has already accused Hicks and Gillett of “legal shadow boxing” at this week’s hearing, but has suggested that he may find in favour of Malek’s request for full disclosure from RBS of buyout documents.

Snowden countered that the American’s legal team have had “a great deal of material” and still “prevaricate”.

The case continues.