Former Dechert partner slammed for leaking to press about his own client

Excessive Court docket finds Neil Gerrard dedicated ‘gross and knowing breach of duty’

A former partner within the Metropolis workplace of US legislation agency Dechert leaked damaging data about his own client to the press, the Excessive Court docket has discovered.

Neil Gerrard was discovered to be in “gross and deliberate breach of duty” after planting tales about Eurasian Pure Assets Company (ENRC) whereas main an inside investigation into alleged corruption on the firm.

A spokesperson for Dechert mentioned that Gerrard’s conduct was “completely at odds” with its values and regular requirements of labor.

ENRC, a mining conglomerate, has been underneath investigation by the Severe Fraud Workplace (SFO) for the final 9 years. Gerrard acted for the corporate between 2011 and 2013, wanting into allegations about dodgy dealings at a Kazakh subsidiary.

However Mr Justice Waksman discovered that he had leaked three completely different tales to the Instances, Sunday Instances and Monetary Instances, main to the “unnecessary expansion of the investigation” and £13 million in charges for Dechert (excluding VAT and disbursements).

Referring to the primary of the leaks, the choose mentioned that he had “taken into account the point that for a solicitor instructed on behalf of a client to cause a leak of the kind in issue here is extremely serious conduct which it might be thought would be almost unimaginable in the case of a straightforward competent solicitor. I regret to say that I do not regard it as unimaginable in the case of Mr Gerrard. I accept that Mr Gerrard did indeed instigate the August Leak…”

The choose added that he had “lied continuously… there is no question of being mistaken”.

The motive was mentioned to be each a “desire to fuel the work that needed to be done and also a separate desire to ingratiate himself with the SFO for personal reasons, unconnected with ENRC”.

Gerrard, a former police officer and main gentle in white-collar crime, is available in for excoriating criticism all through the 386-page judgment.

Waksman wrote that “in general I found him to be a highly unreliable and at times dishonest witness. His evidence was often inconsistent with the documents or implausible, and on more than one occasion, he was plainly lying”.

Elsewhere, the choose says that “he was so obsessed with making money from his work that he lost any real sense of objectivity, proportion or indeed loyalty to his client”. Gerrard was additionally discovered to have been professionally negligent in seven other ways.

The SFO doesn’t come out of the mammoth case both, with two senior ex-employees discovered to have been “lying” to the court docket.

Gerrard issued the next assertion by way of a spokesperson:

“I and my family are devastated by today’s judgment. After over 30 untainted years as a solicitor, I remain sure of the appropriateness of my actions, of my advice in relation to my former client and of my personal and professional integrity. I gave evidence to the best of my ability and believed I was telling the truth at all times. I would like to thank Dechert for their support.”

A spokesperson for Dechert mentioned: “We recognise fully the seriousness of the judge’s findings in relation to Mr. Gerrard’s conduct. We are considering the judgment to see what we should learn from it. Trust among partners is integral to any partnership, and throughout this litigation, Dechert has always acted in good faith in reliance on the assurances given to us by our former partner.”

They added: “The court has now found Mr. Gerrard to have committed conduct, which is completely at odds, not only with our values, ethos, and culture as a firm, but also with the high ethical and professional standards adhered to on a daily basis by our lawyers the world over.”

An SFO spokesperson added: “We welcome that the judge found against ENRC for the majority of its allegations against the SFO. We are considering the implications of this lengthy and complex judgement for the SFO and other law enforcement authorities.”

The quantity of any damages has but to be determined.

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