July 9, 2015 / 7:31 PM / 4 years ago

Citi ordered to pay Mercuria $14 million in China metals financing suit: report

A Citigroup office is seen at Canary Wharf in London, Britain May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc (C.N) has been ordered to pay Swiss-based commodities merchant Mercuria almost $14 million as part of prolonged legal wrangling over Chinese metals financing deals hit by suspected fraud, a report on Wednesday said.

Justice Stephen Phillips of London’s High Court ordered Citi to pay Mercuria $13.6 million plus interest for damages related to a transaction, in which the bank failed to deliver metal paid for by Mercuria last year, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing a court order.

The judge also ordered Citi to pay half of Mercuria’s legal fees, including an immediate payment of roughly $500,000, the report said.

The news comes after Citi in May lost its legal challenge in London to force Mercuria to pay about $270 million in potential losses for the metals financing deals in China.

The lawsuit centers on a probe launched in May last year by Chinese authorities of suspected fraud at China’s Qingdao port, the world’s seventh busiest, and nearby Penglai.

Neither Citigroup nor Mercuria Energy Trading Ltd are accused of fraud, but have been caught in the fallout from the probe.

The alleged fraud is estimated to have stung Western banks and trading houses as well as local Asian banks for more than $3 billion in total.

China has been investigating whether private metals trading firm Decheng Mining and its related companies used fake warehouse receipts to obtain multiple loans secured against a single cargo of metal.

Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Andrew Hay

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