Serious Fraud Office urged ‘Machiavellian’ lawyer to betray his client, High Court told
The Serious Fraud Office encouraged a ‘Machiavellian’ lawyer to leak confidential information about his client in the middle of a corruption probe, the High Court heard.
Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) is suing the SFO for alleged misfeasance in public office over an investigation into the Kazakh mining giant, and is seeking £70million in damages.
The company is also suing City lawyer Neil Gerrard and his former employer, Dechert, which represented ENRC in the investigation, for colluding with the SFO.
Damages claim: Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation is suing the Serious Fraud Office for alleged misfeasance in public office over an investigation into the Kazakh mining giant
ENRC claims that Gerrard, a former policeman, ‘completely turned on his client’ when he gave the watchdog inside information about its response to a corruption, fraud and bribery probe.
Gerrard, who retired from Dechert last year, is also alleged to have ‘bullied’ ENRC into taking his advice by threatening that the SFO would raid directors’ homes and ‘find their porn’.
He told colleagues he was ‘in rape mode’, the court heard, and was going ‘screw these f****** [ENRC] for £25million’ after he celebrated leaking confidential documents to a national newspaper with ‘a glass – or perhaps two – of pink champagne’.
Lawyers representing Dechert and Gerrard say ENRC’s claims are ‘an elaborate work of fiction’.
The SFO, which is still investigating ENRC, said the claim against it is ‘hopeless’.
The trial continues.