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Cleveland bridge denies threat to delay Wembley arch lift

WEMBLEY STADIUM steelwork subcontractor Cleveland Bridge (CBUK) this week denied allegations that it threatened to delay lifting the stadium arch as a way of levering money out of contractor Multiplex.

It was responding to claims made by Multiplex barrister Roger Stewart QC in the Technology & Construction Court.

Stewart alleged that CBUK's owner Sheikh Abdullah al Rushaid had advised CBUK group chief executive Roddy Grant to use the arch lift as a 'bargaining tool' to claim back money it was owed.

'It was the sort of thing that came up in conversation, but wasn't something I approved of? it was a non-starter in negotiating, ' said Grant under cross examination.

But Grant admitted receiving the same advice from former ICE president Sir Alan Cockshaw. Cockshaw was and still is chairman of consultant High Point Rendel, which is also owned by al Rushaid.

Stewart also accused Grant of threatening to 'go slow' and never intending to full its contract as it was short of cash.

But Grant insisted that Multiplex had unfairly withheld £32.66M for work completed between September 2002 and February 2004.

Grant also told the court that CBUK owner Sheikh Rushaid refused to continue funding work on the project from February 2004.

Former CBUK finance director James Child admitted that this decision forced the company to downsize, making 300 people redundant.

Child and Grant told the court that the job losses were discussed with local MP Alan Milburn and prime minister Tony Blair, engaging CBUK's non executive chairman and public relations expert Lord Patrick Gillford.

Stewart claimed that involving local and central government was further evidence of CBUK putting commercial pressure on Multiplex to prop up CBUK.

The case continues

The Wembley Case

The Wembley Stadium High Court case involves main contractor Multiplex and sub contractor CBUK. Multiplex claims CBUK repudiated, or fundamentally breached, its contract by leaving the site on 2 August 2004 and is claiming £45M for delays and costs incurred. Multiplex also claims that CBUK was threatening insolvency.

CBUK claims Multiplex breached the contract by failing to pay £32.66M for work completed and that it conspired to withhold payments so as to force CBUK to leave the project.

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