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Maxwell claimants net pounds 44m

Administrators to the Maxwell Communication Corporation, part of the business empire of the late tycoon Robert Maxwell, have settled their claim against LLP, the US arm of accountants Coopers & Lybrand, netting $68m (pounds 44m) for creditors.

The out-of-court settlement with the administrators, Price Waterhouse, comes three months before the case was due in court in New York. It brings the total amount recovered in the winding up of Maxwell Communication to more than $1bn for the first time.

Price Waterhouse said the settlement increases the projected final payout for creditors to between 46 per cent and 51 per cent of their original claim, excluding funds which are the subject of litigation, compared with the previous range of 44 per cent to 48 per cent.

The case against Coopers & Lybrand LLP centred around its role as auditor to the US publishers Macmillan Inc, which was a subsidiary of Maxwell Communications. Price Waterhouse alleged Coopers had failed to spot the transfer of shares in Berlitz International from Macmillan to Mr Maxwell's private business.

The settlement, which was considerably less than Price Waterhouse's claim, is separate to an outstanding legal claim against Coopers & Lybrand's UK operation.