CASE STUDIES| NEWS FROM THE COURTS THIS WEEK

BGC/TULLETT PREBON APPEAL FAILS
The Court of Appeal has rejected an appeal by interdealer broker BGC over its poaching of staff from rival Tullett Prebon. When the CEO of Tullett, Tony Verrier, joined BGC from Tullett Prebon he tried to persuade 13 brokers to go with him. Ten joined but three stayed with Tullett. The court at first instance held that BGC had used unlawful means to induce the brokers to break their contracts with Tullett Prebon and that the three who stayed were entitled to break their contracts with BGC. BGC’s appeal of this judgment failed.

BANK CAN’T ENFORCE GUARANTEES
The High Court has rejected Close Brothers’ claim against the personal guarantor of a loan made to Air Touring Limited. Michael Pearce personally guaranteed loans up to one quarter of the debt level of Air Touring, in which he had a substantial interest. Following the company’s floatation in 2006, Pearce claimed that he was no longer guarantor of loans and that he revoked the existing guarantees. The judge found that Pearce had revoked the guarantees as his signature appeared on pre-float documentation, but not on those created after.

EXECS JAILED FOR FINANCING SADDAM
Two former directors and a sales manager of engineering firm Mabey & Johnson were found guilty of making illegal payments to Iraq during 2001/02 in breach of UN sanctions. The trio inflated contract prices and channelled disguised illegal payments through Jordanian banks. The Berkshire-based engineering firm paid over €420,000 to secure a contract supplying steel bridges to Saddam Hussein’s government. All three were sentenced to prison and ordered to pay prosecutions’ costs. The two former directors have been disqualified.