High-profile former Hogan Lovells partner Christopher Grierson was jailed for three years this week. He pleaded guilty to stealing £1.3 million from his firm in a four year travel expenses scam. He spent most of the money on his mistress.

Grierson's scandalous long-running fraud was rumbled a year ago. The partner was ditched by his firm immediately, and then fled to Monaco whilst his case was investigated by the City of London Police. However he pleaded guilty to four counts of false accounting earlier this year, comprising 57 fraudulent travel claims. His scheme was to book flights, cancel them at the last minute and then submit his receipts as expense claims. Don't forget this was from a man who was legitimately taking home £830,000 a year.

  Each man kills the thing he loves

When discovered, Grierson was able to repay the full sum within a couple of weeks, thanks to a former client, and he later flogged his second home in France to repay the debt to his benefactor.

He was convicted in March and sent down for three years on Wednesday. The relative brevity of the jail term has been much commented upon (see this excellent thread from the RoF discussion board). Last April, a secretary at Clifford Chance got 15 months for stealing a mere £23,000 from the firm. And a one-time cashier at CC got 18 months for pocketing £63,000. But the judge was no doubt swayed by Grierson's distinguished character witnesses who claimed his fraud was "out of character" (for four years?) and other mitigation including his early guilty plea, rapid repayment, a triple heart bypass and depression. In practice he will probably be out in 18 months.

His lawyer argued that the collapse of the BCCI trial, into which Grierson had pointlessly poured eleven years of his life (including a Mort Pierce style 3,500 hour year in 2009), led to a worsening of his depression. Which had in turn exacerbated a variety of risky behaviours, most notably including a dalliance with a woman (AKA a "Lebanese woman" © all newspapers) to whom he gave the best part of £900,000 of HogLove cash.
Tip Off ROF