CREDIT Lyonnais Rouse, one of 14 London Metal Exchange (LME) brokers claiming a total of US$40 million in unpaid debts from CITIC Shanghai, has temporarily ended negotiations to claim its money back. CITIC Shanghai is a subsidiary of the China International Trust and Investment Corp (CITIC). Credit Lyonnais Rouse is believed to be owed $6 million. After what has been a week of largely bilateral negotiations between the brokers and CITIC Shanghai representatives, a senior director at Credit Lyonnais Rouse said he was satisfied the talks would reach an acceptable conclusion. Other brokers, who also have held talks all week, reported their discussions also had been constructive. 'We still are at a very sensitive moment in this issue . . . but from our point of view it is proceeding satisfactorily,' said Roy Leighton, chairman of Credit Lyonnais Rouse. 'We are still in the middle of the maul, but are comfortable we are going in the right direction,' he added. Mr Leighton said both sides needed time to contemplate the nature of the talks, and that was why they were being temporarily ended. The guarded optimism was shared among other LME brokers, although discussion was said to be focusing on the responsibility that CITIC Shanghai's parent, the internationally-recognised CITIC, should have for the debts. The Chinese delegates are reported to be trying to argue that CITIC has no responsibility for CITIC Shanghai. Meanwhile, an audit of the company carried out by international accountancy firm Price Waterhouse is said to have identified several assets held in other mainland operations. It is questionable whether these assets can be realised to help pay back the $40 million debt. Apart from Credit Lyonnais Rouse, the LME operations of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch are also owed money. The debts were run up after credit was extended through historic price carries against contracts where a hedge position matured.