Judge orders pounds 1m cut in fees of BCCI liquidators

A Luxembourg judge slashed a million pounds off the fees payable to the liquidators of the crashed Bank of Credit and Commerce International yesterday, just 24 hours after a British judge criticised the receivers' bill for the late Robert Maxwell's estate.

The judge cut the fees payable to Deloitte & Touche for the first six months of the BCCI liquidation, or gestion controlee, to pounds 1.81m after the accountancy firm had requested pounds 2.89m.

BCCI was shut down by regulators including the Bank of England in 1991 after large-scale fraud which left more than 100,000 customers in over 60 countries nursing heavy losses. The liquidation process is controlled by courts in the three jurisdictions in which the bank was registered: the UK, Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands.

John Connolly, managing partner of Deloitte & Touche, said: "This judgment is unacceptable and we will be lodging an appeal against it. Despite the size and complexity of this liquidation, our rates were well within industry standards and have previously been approved by courts within the UK."

Mr Connolly added: "This has been a highly successful liquidation. Against an opening situation of a bank with liabilities of over $10bn (pounds 5.9bn), we have succeeded in recovering over $4bn with real prospects of more to come. Creditors have now received a dividend of 24.5 per cent and we expect to be able to remit a further substantial payment to these creditors within the next 12 months. These realisations have come about through highly complex negotiations and litigation and not through the simple sale of assets."

The fees charged by insolvency practitioners, particularly for high-profile international cases, have come under scrutiny this week. On Thursday the UK High Court attacked receivers of the late Robert Maxwell's private estate for the "shameful" and "shocking" level of their fees.