Fraudulent use of agent’s stationary

Ship agents in Hamburg informed the Club in 1987 that they had been joined as joint defendants in court proceedings in Italy concerning unpaid customs duties. 

Investigations revealed that an unknown person had used the agent's discontinued stationery to forge declarations of origin in respect of several shipments of maize to Italy with the intention of avoiding the payment of customs duties. 

The signature on the declarations, which purported to be on behalf of the agent, was false.

Lawyers in Venice were instructed by the Club to defend the agent but it was not until December 1993 that they negotiated the release of the innocent agent from the proceedings, with each side paying its own costs.

Many readers will be surprised that it took nearly seven years to dispose of a claim of this nature but the time taken by the courts to settle cases is painfully slow in some jurisdictions.

This, of course, adds to the cost of defending claims.

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