According to the web search results, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), formerly known as Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), is a mining giant that operates in Kazakhstan and Africa, ERG sued the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and law firm Dechert for misconduct and breach of duty during a criminal investigation into ERG’s activities. The High Court ruled in favour of ERG and held that the SFO and Dechert were financially liable for damages caused by their errors and wrongdoing. The exact amount of compensation is yet to be determined, but it could be millions of pounds.
The SFO investigation, which began in 2013, was closed in 2023 due to lack of sufficient evidence. ERG claimed that the SFO and Dechert acted unlawfully and unethically by obtaining and using confidential information from a former Dechert partner, Neil Gerrard, who was hired by ERG as an adviser. The High Court judge, David Waxman, found that the SFO and Dechert violated their duties to ERG and caused unnecessary costs and losses for the company.
ERG sought more than £21 million in compensation, but the exact amount of damages will be determined in a later trial. Dechert has already paid around £9 million to ERG for work and expenses. The court also decided on the contribution of each defendant, with Dechert and Gerrard liable for 100% of the unnecessary work, and 75% of the unnecessary costs and wasted management time, while the SFO is liable for 25% of the latter two categories.
This company is engaged in the extraction of natural resources. The court’s decision is based on the fact that serious violations by the SFO and Dechert led to unnecessary financial costs for the Kazakhstan mining company.
The court declared the investigation into the case illegal ERG: SFO and Dechert will pay financial obligations
The court said that the ‘SFO was unlawful in the criminal investigation into ERG in 2013. This investigation was initiated as a result of unauthorized information.
The 10-year investigation process, which ended in August 2023 due to a lack of conclusive evidence, resulted in unnecessary costs and financial difficulties for ERG. The decision, handed down by Justice David Waxman in the High Court, also highlighted the misuse of lawyers as confidential informants for law enforcement.
The High Court decided that the SFO and law firm Dechert must bear financial responsibility. ERG initially sought compensation of more than £21 million. Dechert has already paid out approximately £9 million. A claim of approximately £12 million remained unpaid. The court concluded that the SFO was liable for a quarter of the assessed damages, while Dechert and Neil Gerrard would be jointly liable for the remainder. According to information provided by the novinite, possible compensation could reach tens of millions of pounds.
ERG demands $1 billion compensation after illegal investigation: SFO and Dechert on the brink of financial liability
In addition to the initial financial damages, ERG is seeking compensation that could reach $1 billion. This may offset the future losses associated with the criminal investigation. These losses will be assessed at separate court hearings. The SFO, under its new director Nick Ephgrave, and the law firm Dechert are currently reviewing the high court verdict and preparing to address damages issues.
It should be emphasized that this case raises important questions about the inappropriate use of lawyers by law enforcement agencies. It argues for the need to adhere to professional and legal standards and draws attention to the financial and reputational risks associated with such practices.