Barings' creditors face call for £20m

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The Independent Online

Creditors suing the former auditors of Barings for £1bn over the bank's collapse suffered a setback yesterday when they were ordered to pay more than £20m towards the costs of what is expected to be the most expensive trial in British legal history. It also emerged that Credit Suisse First Boston, the investment bank, is among the parties behind the action.

A High Court ruling gave KPMG, the liquidators acting for Barings' creditors, until December to make the payments. The proceedings, which are expected to generate legal bills in excess of £100m, will otherwise be stayed.

The liquidators had vigorously opposed the order, which was requested by the defendants Coopers & Lybrand, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Deloitte & Touche. Christopher Butcher QC, for Deloittes, told the court: "If [the creditors] consider [they have] such a good claim, they will put up the money."

The creditors are dominated by holders of Barings bonds issued in 1986. They are comprised almost entirely of seven parties, revealed to include CSFB and a handful of so-called US vulture funds led by CoMach Partners. No member of the group is aware of the proportion of notes held by each other.

Most of the money will pay for the £18.5m in costs already incurred by Deloittes in the case. Lawyers for the London and Singapore offices of Coopers have notched up £14m so far.

Mr Butcher moved to defend Deloittes' higher fees, submitting a schedule of correspondence between the five City solicitors working on the case that showed on a "pounds per letter basis" that "we've done more work".

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