Commercial Court Gives Judgment In $284m Warehouse Receipt Forgery Claim

16 February, 2022

On 16 February 2022 Mr Justice Calver handed down judgment in ED & F Man Capital Markets Limited v Come Harvest Limited [2022] EWHC 229 (Comm) following a five week trial of civil fraud claims heard in the Commercial Court.

The claim arose out of 92 forged warehouse receipts for nickel, purchased by the Claimant (“MCM”) from two Hong Kong companies (D1 & D2) for a total of $284m during 2016.  MCM had then unwittingly sold the forgeries on to ANZ Bank.

Calver J found that the purported warehouse receipts were forged; that MCM had rescinded its purchase contracts with D1 & D2; and that D1 & D2 (as well as D3 & D4 who had instigated the whole arrangement) were liable to MCM in deceit. Calver J further found that D10, Straits (Singapore) Pte Ltd, had actual knowledge of the fraud and by assisting the fraud with that knowledge had committed the tort of unlawful means conspiracy to injure along with D1-D4.  Calver J dismissed claims in knowing receipt, but granted declarations that traceable proceeds of the fraud were held on constructive trust.

A consequentials hearing is listed for 4 March 2022.

Huw Davies QC, John Robb and Katherine Ratcliffe represented ED&F Man Capital Markets Limited (the Claimant), instructed by John Whittaker, Sabina Cehajic, Bethan Lovett and Merve Danagoz of Clyde & Co LLP.