Bank to fight pounds 60m pension fund claim

DAVID HELLIER

Morgan Stanley, the US investment bank, said yesterday it would fight a $100m (pounds 60m) claim made by Mirror Group Newspapers Pension Trustees.

A spokeswoman for the US investment bank said last night that the claim - writs were served late last week in New York - was "without foundation". "We will seek to ensure that it will be seen as such if it comes before the courts."

The pension fund trustees are claiming $100m, plus interest and punitive damages, from Morgan Stanley Trust Company, which is part of the investment bank. The pension fund trustees claim the bank held $100m of investments on behalf of the fund immediately before the death of Robert Maxwell and that the assets are now lost. Morgan Stanley is one of the few players involved not to have taken part in a partial settlement brokered earlier this year bySir John Cuckney and Sir Peter Webster.

The settlement brought in a total of pounds 276m for the pension funds and avoided the need for lengthy legal action. It included significant payments by the administrators of the Maxwell Communications Corp and the administrators of the private Maxwell companies, which held more than pounds 200m in disputed pension fund assets.

The Morgan Stanley writ is believed to be the last significant claim that will be made by the trustees. The pension fund is now understood to have recovered enough cash to meet its pension obligations.

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