Does Rothschild know something?

Section:

U.S. coin dealer continues suit against Barrick
despite court decision to seal some documents

By Drew Hasselback
National Post/Financial Post, Toronto
Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Blanchard and Co., a U.S. coin dealer that accuses
Barrick Gold Corp. of manipulating the price of gold,
will proceed with its lawsuit in U.S. federal court
despite losing a motion on discovery rules.

Blanchard is suing Barrick and J.P. Morgan Chase
& Co. in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District
of Louisiana in New Orleans, alleging Barrick and J.P.
Morgan used hedging to manipulate the gold price and
generate illegal profits of US$2 billion. Barrick
and J.P. Morgan deny the allegations.

Last November the judge overseeing the case ordered
the matter advance to the discovery stage. That's where
all parties to the action must exchange documents and
testimony so they can prepare for a full-blown trial.

A U.S. magistrate was asked to establish some ground
rules on whether Barrick will have to hand over some
internal documents containing what it considers
confidential and competitive information. Daniel Knowles
III, the magistrate in New Orleans, considered the matter
and issued a 32-page ruling that could toughen things for
Blanchard. The magistrate has set up a two-tiered
process under which Barrick or J.P. Morgan can restrict
access to sensitive internal documents.

Documents considered confidential would be made available
only to experts and lawyers involved in the lawsuit.
The documents would not be made public or released to
Blanchard employees.

"There exists good cause to impose the restrictions,"
Mr. Knowles ruled. He said the parties to the suit should
"designate only the material which they believe in good
faith merits the protection assigned."

Neal Ryan, spokesman for New Orleans-based
Blanchard, said the two-tiered system could slow things
down if there's a constant debate over which documents
are declared confidential and which are not.

"We could get into a process where we could have to say
a document is not confidential, they would say it is, and
there would have to be a ruling for the court," Mr.Ryan
said.

Mr. Ryan said Blanchard may appeal the magistrate's
ruling, though it does not consider the decision fatal to
the lawsuit.

Barrick spokesman Vince Borg said the magistrate's
decision was quite clear. Barrick will be prepared should
Blanchard decide to proceed with an appeal, he added.

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