White-Collar Crime

Partner in $2M Hogan Lovells Expense Fraud 'Lost All Reason,' Spent $1M on Mistress, His Lawyer Says

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A then-partner of Hogan Lovells “lost all reason” after falling for a Lebanese woman living in New York, spending well over $1 million on her during the course of an 18-month affair, his counsel told a British court before Christopher Grierson was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison

The 60-year-old solicitor admitted four counts of fraud in Southwark Crown Court in London concerning a travel expense scam that the prosecution said cost the firm over 1.2 million pounds (nearly $2 million in United States dollars at the current exchange rate). As a senior partner, Grierson approved his own travel expenses, but the fraud came to light when another partner questioned a 42,000-pound bill for a trip between London and Los Angeles, according to the Daily Mail and the Telegraph.

He was paid 830,000 pounds annually (nearly $1.3 million) before the firm found out about the fraud and ousted him from the partnership.

Barrister Mark Ellison QC defended Grierson. He said his client went off the deep end after working up to 3,500 hours a year and experiencing heart problems and depression. Although the affair ended in 2007 when Grierson’s wife found out about it, the solicitor had trouble making payments on the debt he was left with and resorted to fraud in 2008 to try to “bridge the gap” and keep up appearances of a normal life at home, according to Ellison.

“This behaviour was truly bizarre and an indicator of the extent to which he had become derailed,” the barrister told the court. The expensive affair, he said, showed that Grierson “must have lost all reason because he knew deep down that everything about this relationship was false.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Hogan Lovells Partner Ousted, Accused of Padding Expense Accounts by $1.6M”

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