Miner ENRC’s lawsuit ignores evidence, UK’s SFO tells London trial By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An indication is displayed in an unmarked Serious Fraud Office automobile parked outdoors a constructing, in Mayfair, central London March 9, 2011. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

By Kirstin Ridley

LONDON (Reuters) – A London lawsuit introduced in opposition to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) by ENRC, a mining firm on the centre of an eight-year corruption investigation, lacks proof and may by no means have been introduced, a lawyer for the company instructed a court docket on Wednesday.

Simon Colton instructed London’s High Court that ENRC could now remorse sharing info with prosecutors because it sought to keep away from a legal investigation by committing to being open and clear about an inner inquiry round seven years in the past.

“But a change of policy and regret do not justify the present claim,” he stated, because the SFO started its defence within the high-profile trial, which is scheduled to run for 11 weeks.

The SFO opened an investigation into ENRC in 2013 over allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption regarding the acquisition of mineral belongings in Africa. The investigation continues to be open, however no prices have been filed in opposition to the corporate or present or former staff.

ENRC is searching for public vindication and multi-million pound damages.

It alleges that former Dechert lawyer Neil Gerrard, employed in 2010 to hold out an inner investigation following a whistleblowing report, conspired with SFO contacts to break his shopper, develop or extend his personal temporary to extend his charges and leaked privileged and delicate materials.

A lawyer for Dechert and Gerrard has dismissed the allegations, saying ENRC misrepresented paperwork and occasions, took little account of chance and leapt from suspicion to accusation.

ENRC, which was co-founded by three billionaire Kazakh businessmen and the Kazakh authorities, additionally accuses the SFO of misfeasance in public workplace.

It alleges that the company knew Gerrard was passing on delicate info with out authority, however incited and inspired him in an effort to clinch a high-profile company settlement or prosecution.

Colton stated ENRC had levelled “the most serious allegations” in opposition to seven senior SFO officers and was searching for to forged its internet wider as a result of its case solely made sense if there had been a “conspiracy of silence”.

Nicholas Purnell, a lawyer for Dechert, stated earlier that senior ENRC administration had each authorised and understood the necessity for Gerrard to make disclosures to the SFO to beat back the potential for a raid, though some inside ENRC had disagreed.

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