who's suing who

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ARTHUR SCARGILL, President of the National Union of Miners, agreed a compromise in a legal wrangle with the Attorney General this week over the running of a miners' charity.

John Morris, QC, the Attorney General, got the backing of the High Court this week for a scheme to regulate the affairs of "The Yorkshire Miner's Welfare Convalescent Homes", a charity of which Mr Scargill is chairman.

Mr Scargill was suspended as chairman and trustee by the Charity Commission last June, and the scheme has been put in place in order to allow the charity to continue to operate pending his appeal against that decision. The appeal is set to reach court this June.

The Charity Commission took its action last year against the miners' leader over the allegedly inappropriate transfer of pounds 800,000 to the homes fund from another charity of which Mr Scargill was also a trustee.

There are no suggestions that Mr Scargill or anyone else has been involved in any impropriety, but that certain procedures had not been followed.

Meetings of the Convalescent Homes trustees were disrupted when Mr Scargill's NUM colleagues on the committee objected to new trustees being nominated by the British Coal Corporation to replace the NUM president.

The British Coal people in turn had boycotted meetings, and the Attorney General, as guardian of the public interest in the charity sector, wants an early resolution to the row.

A SENIOR member of the ruling family of Saudi Arabia is suing Coutts, the Queen's bankers, over hundreds of thousands of pounds in disputed bank charges.

His Excellency Mohammed El Rashid, who has a residence at 258 Brompton Road, London, is said to be "deeply embarrassed" at having to go to law in the dispute. According to sources close to His Excellency, the disputed bank fees only came to his attention in the last year. He has banked with Coutts, the private banking subsidiary of NatWest, since 1983.

He issued a writ this Tuesday, and Coutts has contacted his lawyers with a view to settling the matter as quickly and quietly as possible, according to the sources.

Asked whether the dispute would reach court, a source close to His Excellency said yesterday: "We sincerely hope not. We hope the talks [with Coutts] will reach fruition next week."

His Excellency's writ says that between June 1992 and 1996 he instructed Coutts from time to time to transfer "substantial sums" from his bank account in Switzerland to his various accounts with Coutts, in particular to the Coutts branch at Lower Sloane Street, London via New York.

The writ says: "In total during this period some US$10,000,000 was transferred and converted to sterling en route."

The writ continues: "The Defendant ... has purported to debit the Plaintiff's account for charges allegedly incurred by him without good cause and without the authority of the Plaintiff."

His Excellency claims that despite repeated requests to Coutts, the bank has failed to account properly to him by providing "a complete, accurate and intelligible account" of his accounts with Coutts.

His Excellency goes on to demand an inquiry "as to what sums, if any, the Defendant has applied towards the payment of charges which were not incurred by the Plaintiff or authorised by him." The writ concludes by demanding that Coutts pays whatever amount is found to be owing, plus interest.

A spokeswoman for Coutts said yesterday: "Client confidentiality means we cannot confirm whether he [His Excellency] is a client of Coutts."

THE Financial Services Authority (FSA) has obtained a wide-ranging ex parte injunction against Steven Rhodes, of Croft Street, London, preventing his firm, Sterling Montague and Speke, from carrying out allegedly unlicensed investment business.

The FSA obtained the injunction on 20 March and a hearing into the matter has been pencilled in for 1 April at the Royal Courts in the Strand, London.

The FSA's writ alleges that Mr Rhodes's firm made "statements, promises or forecasts which he knows to be misleading, false or deceptive and dishonestly concealed material facts and recklessly made such statements" in order to induce people to enter investment agreements. This contravened Section 47 of the Financial Services Act, the FSA writ claims.

The writ also claims that Mr Rhodes contravened Section 56 of the Act by "making unsolicited calls upon persons" in pursuit of investment business.

The FSA claims that Mr Rhodes contravened Section 3 of the Act by carrying on investment business without a licence.

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