Matrix liquidator set to seek damages from UN

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The Independent Online
CHRISTOPHER Morris, of Touche Ross, has been appointed liquidator at Matrix Churchill, the company at the heart of the Iraqgate scandal, to pursue a possible compensation claim 'for several million pounds' against the United Nations over company assets it confiscated after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

Mr Morris will also investigate why the company collapsed so quickly in July 1992, leaving creditors and shareholders with a possible shortfall of nearly pounds 12m.

In 1987 Matrix Churchill was sold to TDG, an Iraqi-owned procurement agency. At the time of the Gulf war in 1991 Matrix Churchill's machine tools equipped many Iraqi weapons factories.

It was sold to Automation Investments, the holding company for BSA Tools, the Birmingham lathe maker.

The company was placed in receivership by its creditors in July 1992 but Price Waterhouse, the receivers, were unable to repay creditors in full.

Liquidation, the final winding-up of a company's affairs, will allow Mr Morris to discover on behalf of several large creditors how a reasonably healthy company could collapse so quickly.

In November 1993 Rob Hunt, of Price Waterhouse, lodged an pounds 8.6m claim for compensation against the UN for damage caused to Matrix Churchill equipment in Iraq's factories during the Gulf war.

A year earlier the trial of three Matrix Churchill directors on charges brought by Customs and Excise over exports to Iraq collapsed.

This led to the establishment of the Scott inquiry, the results of which have yet to be published.