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Who's Suing Whom: Ministry of Sound wins action against director

JAMES PALUMBO, the owner of the fashionable South-east London nightclub The Ministry of Sound, has finally won a legal action against a former director of the club, Lynn Cosgrave, 18 months after the row began.

In November 1997 the Ministry, based in Elephant & Castle, issued a writ against Ms Cosgrave, claiming that while in its employment she "knowingly acted in a manner detrimental" to the club. The club alleged that she took "for herself profits and/or benefits arising from the use of company assets", and "devoted substantial amounts of her working time to the furtherance of her own interests".

The club also claimed that she then "destroyed and/or removed and/or deleted from the computer system the majority of the documents" relating to her employment.

Mr Palumbo, son of Lord Palumbo, the former chairman of the Arts Council and well-known socialite, originally hired Ms Cosgrave to deal with the club's DJs, but then fell out with her.

Ms Cosgrave is currently vice-president of Sony Dance Division UK, as well as the manager of DJs Danny Rampling and John Digweed.

Ms Cosgrave's legal costs following the judgment are likely to be substantial.

Under the terms of the judgement she must also account to Mr Palumbo for any money she earned for herself using company assets.

A LIBERIAN-REGISTERED company is suing an Austrian investment bank in the High Courts in London over unpaid rent on a suite of offices it let to the bank in Kiev in the Ukraine.

River Trust Corporation, which is based in 80 Broad Street, Monrovia, Liberia, has launched legal action against CAIB Investmentbank Aktiengesellschaft of Vienna, Austria for pounds 82,119.32.

River Trust says that the rent is due from a range of five suites at Ivana Franko Street, Kiev for a term of 60 months from the l May 1997.

ONE OF Britain's leading aristocrats, Lord St Helens, is being sued by his landlord for repossession of his country home in the village of Waltham St Lawrence in Berkshire, as well as for pounds 21,000 in back rent.

Bartholomew Smith, the landlord, is also claiming rent from Lord St Helens at a rate of pounds 36,000 per year from the date of service of the writ until Lord St Helens has vacated Halls Farmhouse, Halls Lane, in Waltham St Lawrence.

Lord St Helens formerly lived in Marchfield House, Binfield, Berkshire. Mr Smith, who himself lives at another country house in the same county, Shottesbrooke Park in White Waltham, says Lord St Helens signed an agreement on 30 April 1997 for a term of 12 months to rent Halls Farmhouse at pounds 3,000 per month.

Mr Smith says that Lord St Helens is still living at the farmhouse after the expiry of the term as a periodic tenant, on the same terms as the original agreement.

Now Mr Smith claims the rent is pounds 21,000 in arrears, and he wants his money and repossession of the farmhouse.

A SOHO-BASED company is suing a commodity trading group over the management charge for its offices in New Burlington Street in the West End of London.

Tsedoko Ltd of Berwick Street, London, has launched an action against Burlington Commodities Ltd (formerly Agrichem UK Ltd) over the offices on the fourth and fifth floor of 4 New Burlington Street. Tsedoko is claiming nearly pounds 40,000 related to building work and another pounds 80,000 related to service charges for the premises.

HSBC IS preparing its legal defence against the action brought by its American banking rival, HFC, over the rebranding of all 1,700 Midland Bank branches with the name "HSBC".

HSBC, which bought Midland seven years ago, says it aims to complete the rebranding by the end of June.

HFC launched its legal action with a fanfare of publicity last week, claiming that customers would be confused by the similarity between the two names.

An HSBC spokesman commented on Friday: "We are going to contest the HFC writ vigorously."

The stakes are high. Following Midland's sale to HSBC in 1992 the new owner replaced the traditional Midland Griffin with the red HSBC hexagonal logo. But HSBC has left it until this year actually to rebrand the Midland branches with its own name. The process is going ahead quickly - nearly 400 Midland branches were renamed as HSBC branches just last Thursday.

HFC is being represented by City solicitors Simmons & Simmons, while HSBC is using its usual firm, Clifford Chance, to prepare its defence.