How Gerrard's accuser portrays the lawyer (yet to be confirmed in a court of law).

Dechert has been named as a defendant in a $100m claim thanks to a pesky former partner who has already cost the firm £20m and counting.

Farhad Azima, an Iranian-American aviation mogul who lives in Kansas City, has accused Neil Gerrard of using cybermercenaries to hack his emails and use them against him.

Gerrard, an ex-policeman who was Dechert's head of white collar crime, was instructed by the UAE sheikdom Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) to investigate allegations the previous head of its Investment Authority has been engaged in fraud.

As the scope of Dechert's investigation under Gerrard expanded it encompassed Karem Al Sadeq, the Investment Authority's former legal advisor, who said that as a result of the probe he was wrongfully arrested and incarcerated in a UAE prison. Al Sadeq is suing Dechert, Gerrard and other partners in a separate claim and alleges that he was blindfolded and tied to a chair while Gerrard interrogated him.

Azima has accused RAK and Gerrard of cooking up a plot to ruin him because he drew attention to Al Sadeq's plight. The alleged scheme involved Gerrard paying hackers to steal emails from Azima's account which showed the mogul may have been working with a trio of sanctioned Iranians when it was not legally prudent for a US citizen to do so, and then leaking the emails on the internet. 

At that point, alleges Azima, Gerrard arranged for Dechert to 'discover' the incriminating emails on the web, which enabled RAK to successfully sue Azima for $4.2m for breaching the good faith clause of a settlement agreement between the two parties. 

Azima says Gerrard and his co-defendants also planted "false and disparaging" stories in the press about his Iranian links as part of a smear campaign, and then spent years trying to cover up their culpability for the hack, which he says has cost him a fortune in lost earnings because potential business partners decided he was toxic.

According to Azima's lawyers, to prepare for an upcoming hearing Gerrard ran a "perjury school" at a Swiss hotel in 2019 at which his team practised getting their stories straight about how they happened across the hacked emails. "While dining with a private chef and enjoying an extensive selection of fine wines", Gerrard and his team "engaged in a mock trial, with Gerrard acting as judge and cross-examining counsel in an effort to perfect the narrative", alleges Azima.

He claims that Gerrard's team hacked more emails after the 2016 leak, and to plausibly explain how the data came into their possession they hatched a "complicated scheme to use a subcontractor in France to travel to Lebanon to anonymously mail printed copies" of the material to Gerrard and others.

Gerrard also instructed the hackers to search for information in the accounts of Al Sadeq's lawyers in the UK, alleges Azima. But it went pear-shaped when Stokoe Partnership Solicitors realised they were being targeted by phishing emails and inserted tracking code into their responses, which enabled them to trace the source back of Gerrard's alleged hackers, according to Azima.

For a partner who joined Dechert with a reputation as a rainmaker, Gerrard is proving expensive. The firm made an interim payment of £20m in August after the High Court ruled that Gerrard and the firm committed deliberate acts of wrongdoing in relation to the enormous fees he generated while conducting an ever-widening probe into corruption at the ENRC mining conglomerate.

A spokesperson for Dechert said, "The claim against the firm is denied and will be defended".

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 21 October 22 09:43

It's like the newspaper phone hacking cases. There's blood in the water now. Everyone who ever came a cropper courtesy of Gerrard will be gunning for Dechert. I wonder how much they've put aside.

Lawyer at a rival firm 21 October 22 12:34

Dechert must be annoyed with Neil but I find him very entertaining. Encore!

Garrardteed Vcitory 21 October 22 13:06

Yes but do you want:

a) white collar criminal lawyer; or

b) a white collar criminal, lawyer

another lawyer at a rival 21 October 22 13:12

perhaps a tad apocalyptic, but how likely will all these claims lead to the collapse of dechert? has a firm survived anything similar? assuming the claims don't go their way

I’m no Ironside but 21 October 22 13:51

Presumably Dechert will put all the blame on Gerrard and claim he went rogue (assuming the case against him is proven, which it may not be - Azima strikes me as an interesting character, put it that way). That didn’t work in the ENRC case, though - maybe Dechert will have had time to finesse that element of their defence. Sticky. Very sticky. 

DJcornflake 21 October 22 13:52

The fact that these claims can be made with a straight face just speaks volumes about Dechert’s fall.

Anonymous 21 October 22 14:09

I thought they stood by Gerrard in the ENRC case - they had the same counsel? They only repudiated him afterwards.

Anonymous 21 October 22 16:20

Dechert and Gerrard are a disaster for our business, I'm ashamed I work in the legal sector as well as they do. They should dress into their jail pyjamas and go

Anonymous 21 October 22 16:25

Neil rulezz! Funniest hacker I've ever seen. Love the pic. Go, Neil, go, you're the most famous senior & junior hacker 2in1

Scylla 22 October 22 21:42

RAK… no one commenting on who his client was when he did allegedly these things? 

I find that quiet interesting.  RAK has a certain reputation even among the UAE for being.. a bit of a cowboy state and less than civil.

And given that the National is a publication owned by state interests in the UAE you can be sure this report is the sanitised version. 

Anonymous 24 October 22 11:40

Neil Gerrard, as well as "London's Most Controversial Lawyer," committed deliberate acts of wrongdoing sooo many times that I think he has to have problems with his sleep. At least I hope so.

And yet there are still people who admire his work -


Anonymous 24 October 22 15:50

For those really interested - two podcasts about this crazy law firm were released recently, both very good ones

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