LONDON, JULY 17 -- A High Court judge has ordered Washington investor and former Guinness PLC director Thomas Ward to immediately return to the huge brewer 5.2 million pounds, or $8.4 million, that he received during the company's takeover of Distillers Co. last year.

Guinness is being investigated by the Department of Trade and Industry for its tactics in the takeover. It has admitted arranging for the apparently illegal repurchase of its stock, in an apparent effort to boost its share price and make its cash-and-stock offer for Distillers, a Scotch whisky and gin maker, more attractive.

Former Guinness chairman and chief executive Ernest Saunders, who was fired in the scandal and faces criminal charges of obstructing justice, secretly agreed to pay Ward for what they said was his services in the takeover.

Guinness, whose board was not informed of the payment, has been seeking to recover that and other money -- the equivalent of millions of dollars -- used in the stock repurchasing plan.

Sir Nicolas Browne-Wilkinson, the High Court judge, said the Guinness by-laws did not permit Ward to retain any profit from a secret agreement with Saunders, which had not been disclosed to the board as required by the British Companies Act.

Ward had said that even if he were liable to repay the money, he was entitled to payment for his services. Ward also said no judgment could be entered that would require immediate repayment to Guinness because he was entitled to pursue cross-claims against Guinness.

{Ward's Washington attorney said Ward's London lawyers are planning to appeal yesterday's decision. "They continue to believe that the judge's decision is not correct and they expect it to be overturned on appeal," said David Aufhauser of Williams & Connolly. He said a court hearing has been scheduled in London next week to determine whether yesterday's order should be stayed pending the appeal.}