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Steel firm 'whinged' about Wembley

MULTIPLEX treated its former steelwork contractor on Wembley stadium as a 'whingeing Pom' by refusing to listen to its complaints about problems it faced with the scheme's design.

The comments were made in the High Court this week by Cleveland Bridge's QC Hugh Tomlinson as he summed up his client's case.

The pair are suing each other for damages and breach of contract after CBUK left the site in August 2004.

Around £50 million is at stake.

Mr Tomlinson said: 'This is not a court of morals. The position is their conduct crossed the line from tough contractor into unlawful conduct.' He told the court that the Australian firm had ignored CBUK's repeated complaints about receiving late and incomplete design information.

He said Multiplex's attitude to CBUK was that they were 'whingeing Poms', who were 'trying to blame someone else' for problems with the steelwork.

Mr Tomlinson added: 'Multiplex sought to downplay the difficulties CBUK was facing.' He said the problems with the design were more extensive than Multiplex had led the court to believe.

He repeated his client's claim that Multiplex tried to bust CBUK as part of a strategy to recoup money on spiralling steelwork costs. Replying, Multiplex's QC Roger Stewart said Multiplex had no intention of trying to bankrupt CBUK.

He said: 'Multiplex did not want to lose CBUK because it realised there would be an inevitable disruption.' He said that by summer 2004 Multiplex had reached the conclusion that CBUK had failed to live up to expectations and deliver what it felt was a reasonable steel erection rate.

He said: 'Multiplex's state of mind was that CBUK's perform-ance was lamentable. A competent contractor would have done 400 tonnes a week.' Mr Justice Jackson is expected to give a decision on the case in early June.