Bank seeks pounds 50m from City lawyers

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BANQUE Bruxelles Lambert, Belgium's second-largest bank, has issued a writ for negligence against Simmons & Simmons, the City law firm, claiming damages understood to be in the region of pounds 50m, writes John Willcock.

The legal action concerns a syndicated loan for pounds 95m provided by BBL and five other banks for a London property development, Point West Apartments, in 1989.

Simmons & Simmons advised BBL on the syndication, and the bank is claiming damages for 'negligence and/or breach of contract and/or breach of duty'. It is understood that the other five banks are considering similar actions.

Point West, a large residential development on the Cromwell Road, was a project by Land & Property Trust, part of the private property empire owned by the Berger family.

L&PT failed three years ago, prompting a rash of litigation involving financial institutions and legal advisers.

Morgan Stanley, the US investment bank, has launched a contribution action for pounds 60m against the City solicitors Titmuss Sainer & Webb over a securities portfolio owned by First Tokyo Index Trust. Morgan is being sued for pounds 60m by the liquidators of First Tokyo, Touche Ross, and is seeking to make Titmuss liable if Touche's action succeeds.