Legal Ethics

RICO Suit Seeks $500M From Freshfields, Says Retainer Paid Via 'Corrupt Relationship'

A renowned London-based international law firm has been named as a defendant in a federal civil racketeering lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C.

The suit contends that Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer participated, by accepting a retainer paid through a “corrupt relationship,” in a scheme to strip a Denver energy company of Caribbean oil exploration rights, reports the Blog of Legal Times.

Although Freshfields represented the country of Grenada in the international arbitration proceeding that resulted in the loss of the rights for plaintiff RSM Production Corp., RSM contends that the money for the retainer came from Global Petroleum Group. The suit claims Global Petroleum Group was formed by two Russians, one a convicted felon, for the purpose of bribing Grenadian officials and getting the exploration rights itself.

RSM also claims that DLA Piper refused the arbitration matter after doing due diligence and says Freshfields knew or should have known that Grenada itself lacked the money to pay for the top-flight law firms’ services.

Neither the law firm nor partner Brian King, who also is named as a defendant, immediately responded to the legal publication’s requests for comment.

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