"Not only did they refuse the offer, they reported you to the police. And you've been fired."

A lawyer has left Matheson, Ireland’s largest law firm, after being caught using their work email account to demand a fortune from a housing developer in return for not raising planning objections.

The senior lawyer lives in a smart suburb of Dublin, and took action with a group of like-minded neighbours when a nearby development was proposed.

An email sent from the lawyer’s Matheson address asked the developer to make a €125,000 initial payment to each neighbour in the group, and to make changes to the boundary and other elements of the development or pay them each a further €100,000, otherwise they would lodge objections to the project, according to the Irish Independent

The band of commercially-minded dealmakers said that in return for not making life difficult, they would not make a legal challenge or support objections from neighbours who were not in their club/syndicate.

Instead of coughing up, the developer reported the approach to the police for potential fraud.

Matheson, which employs 800 people in Ireland and the US, didn’t respond too cheerfully to being the source of an alleged extortion plot.

“Matheson email and stationery is for Matheson business only. This was not Matheson business. We take this very seriously, and the individual no longer works for Matheson”, it said in a statement provided to the Irish Independent.

When the paper contacted the senior lawyer who sent the email, the individual said, “I had no involvement in that issue”. When it was gently revealed to them that the email in question was sent from their account, the person said "No comment”. Maybe they were hacked.

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