FTI, chairman settle legal battle with mining group

LONDON: FTI Consulting and EMEA chairman Mark Malloch-Brown have settled their legal dispute with international mining group BSGR Resources, agreeing to pay "substantial" compensation and legal costs.

LONDON: FTI Consulting and EMEA chairman Mark Malloch-Brown have settled their legal dispute with international mining group BSGR Resources, agreeing to pay “substantial” compensation and legal costs.           

BSGR said in a statement Monday morning that FTI and Malloch-Brown had “conceded defeat” by settling the legal action brought against them in April. However, a spokesman for FTI said the case had been settled for €90,000, about $119,300, “without any admission of liability.”

BSGR said the damages would be donated to “charities and good causes working in Guinea.”

The two parties disputed the reasons for FTI resigning its contract as a PR adviser to the group, owned by Israeli diamond mining magnate Beny Steinmetz, over “conflict issues” last November.

BSGR claimed that Malloch-Brown had pressured FTI to resign the account and that he, himself, was under significant pressure to take action against BSGR from George Soros, a strong critic of the company's activities in Guinea.

The mining group claimed that Malloch-Brown and FTI were “involved in a conspiracy against BSGR” after documents obtained through a Data Protection Act request of FTI showed that Malloch-Brown was corresponding with staffers in Soros' offices about BSGR and its interests.

“BSGR remains shocked by Malloch-Brown's conduct and condemns his collusion with Soros and the manner in which he treated his company's client,” the group said. “It is appalled that a figure of Malloch-Brown's international standing and global reputation would pass information about clients to hostile third parties.”

However, FTI Consulting said that “at no point was client information passed to third parties” and denied that the settlement was a concession of defeat in any way.

FTI and Malloch-Brown said in a statement that they “have always vigorously denied the claims brought against them in their entirety as baseless and without any merit. Indeed, FTI Consulting and Malloch-Brown applied to have the claims against them struck out.”

The statement added that the settlement was considered “less than what FTI Consulting and Malloch-Brown would have incurred in irrecoverable costs by pursuing the strike out applications.”

BSGR alleged that FTI was guilty of breach of contract, while Malloch-Brown was accused of breach of tortious duty of confidence and defamation. Both were also accused of conspiracy to withhold disclosure of a conflict of interest from BSGR.

Malloch-Brown was UN deputy secretary general under Kofi Annan in 2006 and joined former Prime Minister Gordon Brown's UK government in 2007 as minister of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK, the sister publication of PRWeek at Haymarket Media.

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