The Evening Standard columnist, the former FTSE 100 mining company and the SFO
Little old Betaville is not a big fan of travelling on the London tube but it does tend to be a place where this website comes up with its best ideas, conspiracy theories and stories (you would never believe how many bankers read confidential deal documents on the underground and sometimes you can sneak a peek).
Anyway, it was while sifting through yesterday's Evening Standard on a hot, stuffy Bakerloo line that I came across an intriguing Tony Hilton column about ENRC's plight with the Serious Fraud Office (dubbed the Seriously Flawed Office by my former Telegraph colleague Alistair Osborne).
The eloquent Hilton argues that ENRC's board did the right thing by hiring an external lawyer to look into a whistleblower's allegations but that move has subsquently come back to haunt the company (now called Eurasian Resources Group) as the SFO has seized the controversial report compiled by Decherts and now is using it for its long-running/never ending investigation into the business.
Hilton's piece also goes on to underline how this latest tussle between ENRC and the SFO has potentially disrupted the laws and procedures around "document privilege". This is because ENRC and its lawyers argued the SFO shouldn't be using the report because it was prepared as a result of its own efforts to get to the bottom of the alleged wrongdoing and could contain rumours, innuendo and statements that might not be said during an interview under caution. Here is the link to Tony's well written piece:
But in early May 2017 the Honourable Mrs Justice Andrews declared the Dechert documents were not covered by privilege and should therefore be handed over.
And now law firms all over the City are firing off email alerts to their clients (little old Betaville has one from Keoghs sitting in front of me) warning of them about the recent judgement from Mrs Justice Andrews allowing the SFO to use the Decherts report as "the implication is that litigation privilege did not apply to any of the documents prepared by an international corporation as part of its internal investigation into alleged miscondunct".