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Deloitte wins another round in Barings case

Accounting firm Deloitte & Touche Singapore could be awarded substantial costs in a long-running legal battle over the collapse of UK merchant bank Barings after a court ruling on Friday.

High Court judge Mr Justice Evans-Lombe reinforced an earlier ruling that Barings' directors and not the bank's auditors Deloitte & Touche Singapore were responsible for failing to uncover the fraudulent trading that brought down the bank in 1995.

The court had initially found in favour of Deloitte & Touche in June. Friday's ruling means that of the 791 million pounds ($1.32 billion) lost at Barings by rogue trader Nick Leeson, Deloitte & Touche is responsible for about 1.5 million, Deloitte said in a statement.

Deloitte & Touche Singapore said it would argue at a further hearing scheduled for later this year that the court should order the Barings' liquidators to pay its legal costs.

“Such an award is likely to greatly exceed the value of the (1.5 million pound) judgment,” Deloitte & Touche said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Deloitte & Touche Singapore said this was likely to result in a “net flow of funds to Deloitte.”

Barings' liquidator had originally claimed more than one billion pounds from the bank's auditors, which included Deloitte & Touche and Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers).

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