Eagle enters court fight with Swiss Bank

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The Independent Online
DAVID JAMES, the company doctor, rescuer, is going to the High Court next this week on behalf of the former mini-conglomerate Eagle Trust , the former mini-conglomerate whose shares have been suspended since May 1989, to begin its the companys long-awaited legal battle with Swiss Bank Corporation.

Eagle Trust, whose shares have been suspended since May 1989, which still hopes to give its long-suffering shareholders some part of their investment back. It is suing Swiss Bank for Pounds 13.5m plus interest over the part played by the bank played in the company's 1987 ill-fated share issue in 1987.

The company suffered an initial legal setback in January 1991 when a High Court judge initially struck out its claim.

However, Eagle Trust contested the decision at the Court of Appeal and was cleared to press ahead with its case.

The company's claim relates dates back to the share issue that financed the purchase of Samuelson, the film services company. The share issue, which straddled the 1987 stock market crash, flopped and the pounds 13.5m required to meet the commitments of some of the sub-underwriters came from the company itself.

Eagle Trust is alleging that the bank's then former stockbroking subsidiary, Savory Milln, the underwriters for the issue, knew the money was coming from the company and not from legitimate sources.

The company, in its statement of claim, has argued that the money was misappropriated by John Ferriday, Eagle Trust's former chairman, who is now in prison. It is possible that he will be asked to attend the court case to give evidence.

Eagle Trust alleges that the pounds 13.5m was 'received . . . in circumstances where Savory Milln deliberately or recklessly shut their eyes to the fact and/or ought to have known and/or were on enquiry that the said sums were or represented Eagle's own money'.

Swiss Bank is defending the action. A spokeswoman for the company said: 'From the bank's point of view we think that the claim is wholly unfounded. We are surprised that Eagle Trust has this much money to waste.'

The case begins on Tuesday.