High Court orders disclosure of SFO documents in s.90A FSMA shareholder class action

In a recent decision, the High Court has ordered that documents provided to Tesco plc (“Tesco“) by the SFO for the purpose of negotiating a deferred prosecution agreement (“DPA“) must be disclosed by Tesco in the separate civil action relating to the same subject matter, brought by its shareholders under s.90A of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (“FSMA“): Omers Administration Corporation & Ors v Tesco plc [2019] EWHC 109 (Ch). The court reached this conclusion notwithstanding the fact that these documents were obtained by the SFO from third parties using its powers to compel the production of information/documents under s.2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (“CJA“), and provided to Tesco during the DPA process on the understanding between the SFO and Tesco that the information they contain would be kept confidential.  In this briefing, our litigation team considers the rationale for and implications of the decision. Continue reading

UK: no Suremime-type duty of care owed directly to customer in connection with past business review

Six months after the High Court's surprising judgment in Suremime Limited v Barclays Bank plc [2015] EWHC 2277 (QB), the recent decision in CGL Group Limited v Royal Bank of Scotland [2016] EWHC 281 (QB) will be encouraging for financial institutions concerned about liabilities arising out of FCA past business reviews.  The Court held that the Claimant’s proposed amendment to the Particulars of Claim – namely, that the Defendant bank directly owed its customers a common law duty of care in connection with the past business review mandated by the FCA (as it now is) – was not arguable. 

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UK Court orders disclosure of confidential SFO and client documents: Harlequin Property (SVG) Ltd & Anor v Wilkins Kennedy

The recent case management decision in Harlequin Property (SVG) Ltd and Another v Wilkins Kennedy [2015] EWHC 3050 (TCC) considered an application by the Defendant to withhold documents from inspection on the basis of confidentiality. The documents in question fell into two categories, namely: (i) documents created in the course of an investigation into the Claimants by the Serious Fraud Office ("SFO"); and (ii) documents that were confidential to the Defendant's third party clients.

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UK: New pilots of streamlined procedures for claims in the main business courts

Two pilot schemes, the Shorter Trials Scheme and the Flexible Trials Scheme, will be introduced for claims commenced from 1 October and will run for a period of two years. The schemes allow for shorter and more flexible procedures for claims brought in the Rolls Building courts (including the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division and the Technology and Construction Court). The new Practice Direction governing the pilots (PD 51N) was published yesterday, following on from a consultation in May this year.

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Hong Kong court dismisses investor’s counterclaim against bank for mis-selling of financial products

The Court of First Instance has recently handed down its judgment in DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited v Sit Pan Jit (HCA 382/2009), which concerned a claim by DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited (DBS) against its former customer, Sit Pan Jit, for failing to meet margin calls in respect of certain investments and a counterclaim by Mr Sit against DBS for mis-selling those investments. Continue reading

USA: Delaware Chancery Court finds bank’s “unclean hands” bar contribution from co-defendants, orders payment of $76 million damages

On October 10, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster of the Delaware Chancery Court issued an opinion ordering RBC Capital Markets LLC (“the Bank”) to pay USD $75.8 million of a $91.3 million damages award to a class of former Rural/Metro Corp. shareholders.  The damages opinion was preceded by the court’s finding in March that the Bank, along with Rural/Metro’s directors, and their other financial advisor Moelis & Co. LLC, were liable for breaches of their respective duties in connection with the sale of the company to Warburg Pincus LLC.  The Bank was found to have deliberately undervalued the company, advising the board to accept Warburg’s offer, without disclosing that it was simultaneously seeking to finance Warburg’s takeover. Continue reading

US Federal Court orders Microsoft to produce e-mail content stored outside the United States

In a decision that may have implications for the way US technology companies, and in particular data storage or “cloud” providers, do business with customers, who may include financial institutions, outside the United States, a federal district judge in New York has affirmed a magistrate judge’s decision that ordered Microsoft Corporation to produce, in response to a search warrant issued at the behest of US authorities, the contents of one of its customer’s e-mail accounts stored on a Microsoft server in Ireland. Continue reading