Playboy Club London Limited and others v Banca Nazionale del Lavoro SPA
Playboy Club, a London casino, has succeeded on its claim against an Italian bank, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, for the provision of a negligent banker’s reference.
Playboy granted a cheque cashing facility to a customer in the amount of £1.25 million, allowing the customer to obtain gaming chips immediately upon presenting a cheque to the casino. Playboy did so in reliance on a banker’s reference provided by the bank to a sister company of the casino, which confirmed that the customer was good for the money. The customer drew down on this facility for the full £1.25 million, but the cheques he presented turned out to be counterfeit. It transpired that the customer had a nil balance on his account with the bank. Playboy sued the bank for providing a negligent reference. Issues arose as to whether the reference was provided at all by the bank; if so whether the bank was liable for the reference prepared by its former employee; whether the bank owed a duty of care to Playboy; the time at which the casino’s losses crystallised; and whether the losses suffered fell within the scope of duty owed by the bank.
The Mercantile Court today gave judgment for Playboy Club. Among other matters:
The judgment is here.
Fred Hobson acted for the Claimants, instructed by Michael Simkins LLP.