(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- Last week, a British High Court judge ruled that a top partner from a US law firm breached his duty of care to his client when he leaked damaging information about the client to inflate his legal fees and then lied about it in court.
The High Court ruling caps off a ten-year legal battle between US law firm Dechert, the African mining company, Eurasian National Resources Corporation (ENRC), and the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.
The mining company had retained the services of Dechert’s head of global white-collar litigation, Neil Gerrard in 2010 to assist with an internal investigation into corruption at its work sites. Gerrard later leaked the company’s records to The Times of London and took measures to help “kick-start” the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) investigation into his client.
After he succeeded, Gerrard then took millions in legal fees from ENRC to defend the company in the SFO investigation he secretly initiated. Worse still, Gerrard even bragged about his shakedown efforts.
In his scathing 400-page ruling last Monday, Judge David Waksman described Gerrard as a “dishonest witness” and said SFO officials engaging with Gerrard was a “reckless breach of duty” and “bad faith opportunism.”
However, Judge Waksman dismissed the other allegations against the SFO made by ENRC, including deliberate destruction of evidence, leaking to the press, and misfeasance in public office.
In a statement following the judge’s ruling, the now-retired Gerrard said he was devastated by the judgment, saying he remains certain that his actions and the advice he gave to ENRC were appropriate. Gerrard stated that he had “over 30 untainted years” as a lawyer and he remains certain of his “personal and professional integrity.”
His former law firm Dechert said in a statement that it acknowledged the seriousness of Judge Waksman’s findings related to Gerrard’s conduct and added that it was considering the 400-page ruling to see what Dechert could learn from it.
Judge Waksman’s rule is another blow to Dechert’s reputation. Three years ago, another lawyer for the firm, Andrew Levander, had threatened to sue the conservative outlet the Washington Free Beacon for reporting on a lawsuit alleging that Neil Gerrard had been involved in an international hack-and-leak operation against critics of the Iranian regime.