Eagle Trust defeated in 25m pounds SBC claim

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The Independent Online
DAVID JAMES, the company rescuer, has lost his court claim for pounds 25m damages on behalf of former mini-conglomerate Eagle Trust against Swiss Bank Corporation.

Mr James launched the claim in February 1990 for pounds 13.5m plus interest over Swiss Bank's role in Eagle Trust's share issue of 1987. He had anticipated paying the company's shareholders a dividend of 1p on winning the SBC action. Mr James was appointed chairman in September 1989 with the intention of rescuing the group.

He said yesterday: 'It's an extremely disappointing result for Eagle Trust shareholders, particularly in view of the appalling losses they have suffered over the years.'

Eagle Trust is pressing ahead with a separate claim against accountants KPMG for pounds 50m to pounds 60m, relating to their role as auditors of the company for the year to December 1987. The case is due to come to court in April next year.

Mr James's claim related to a share issue that financed the purchase of Samuelson, the film services company. The 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 alleged unsuccessfully that the bank's then stockbroking subsidiary, Savory Miln, underwriters for the issue, knew the money was coming from the company and not from legitimate sources.