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UBS v KWL litigation concludes

10/04/18

The Supreme Court has refused permission for UBS to appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal UBS AG v Kommunale Wasserwerke Leipzig Gmbh [2017] EWCA Civ 1567, [2017] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 621, upholding the decision of Males J of November 2014.

The claim arose out of the sale by UBS to KWL of four highly complex derivatives known as “STCDOs”, worth approximately USD 400 million. The STCDOs sustained a total loss during the 2007-09 financial crisis.

It subsequently emerged that KWL’s former financial advisors (“Value Partners”) had both (a) paid bribes to KWL’s former managing director, and (b) engaged in a scheme with UBS to sell the STCDOs to KWL without regard to KWL’s interests. Against this background, Males J held that KWL was entitled to rescind its transactions with UBS.

Males J also found that UBS’s portfolio management arm (“UBS GAM”) had negligently managed the STCDO portfolios, causing all of KWL’s losses, such that KWL would have been able to recover any sums due to UBS as damages for negligence.

The Court of Appeal (Briggs LJ and Hamblen LJ, with Gloster LJ dissenting) upheld the judgment on both issues as summarised in the Brick Court Chambers news item dated 8 November 2017, which is here.

The Supreme Court refused permission for a further appeal by order dated 10 April 2018.

Members of Brick Court Chambers acted for both KWL and UBS in the dispute, at trial and on appeal.

KWL was represented by Tim Lord QC, Simon Salzedo QC, Stephen Midwinter QC and Craig Morrison, instructed by Addleshaw Goddard LLP.

UBS was represented by Richard Slade QC and Edward Harrison, and by Jonathan Dawid at the trial, instructed by Mayer Brown LLP.