Sumitomo hires Maitland for court battle with CLR

Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corporation has drafted in The Maitland Consultancy as it prepares to take its legal battle over a £1.6bn copper-trading scandal to London’s High Court on 4 October.

Maitland partner William Clutterbuck is advising Sumitomo and its lawyers Ashurst Morris Crisp on its suit against Credit Lyonnais Rouse (CLR), the derivatives arm of the former Credit Lyonnais.

Sumitomo alleges CLR ‘dishonestly assisted’ Sumitomo rogue trader Yasuo Hamanaka by clearing and transacting unauthorised copper trades in 1993.

The Japanese firm also alleges that CLR knew that Hamanaka was acting in breach of his duties to his employer when he ordered the broker to transfer the proceeds of a copper derivative transaction to a subsidiary of Sumitomo rather than Sumitomo itself. Sumitomo estimates that it lost £1.6bn as a result of Hamanaka’s activities and is seeking £615m in damages from CLR.

CLR, whose parent Credit Lyonnais merged with Credit Agricole to form Calyon last year, has rejected Sumitomo’s allegations, insisting that its business relationship with Sumitomo was proper and open in all aspects.

M Communications consultant Louise Tingstrom is advising CLR and its lawyers Clifford Chance.

Hamanaka’s activities resulted in millions of pounds worth of regulatory fines after the price of copper crashed in mid-1996 by more than 35 per cent.

In 1998, a Japanese court jailed Hamanaka for eight years. Sumitomo was fined £69m by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and paid £5m to the UK’s Financial Services Authority.

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