Refco Inc., the bankrupt futures broker, persuaded a judge to halt lawsuits by customers seeking to recover $1.8 billion in their accounts. Refco claims the accounts are debt, not customer property, meaning customers might not get all their money back. Customers argue the money is theirs, and is being held by Refco. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain at a hearing in New York on Friday agreed to delay the suits at least until Dec. 8. "We intend that there will be adequate protection procedures in place so that assets people think belong to them will be there at the end," Anthony Clark, a Refco lawyer, told the judge before the ruling. Eighteen customers have sued Refco Capital Markets Ltd. since its parent company filed for bankruptcy protection Oct. 17. Among them are investment funds run by money manager Jim Rogers, demanding the return of $362 million. Tom Cauley, a lawyer for Rogers, had told the judge his client wanted his claim brought to trial Dec. 12. Another customer's lawyer claimed that Refco accounts may be short by $1 billion. Clark said Refco will give customers detailed information on assets remaining in 3,000 Refco Capital Markets accounts by Dec. 5.