High Court decision: SFO and Dechert are financially liable for damages in the ERG case

According to the decision of the High Court, The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and law firm Dechert are likely to be ordered to pay millions of pounds to mining giant Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC or ERG). As reported by portugalnews, the court concluded that serious errors on both sides led to unnecessary financial costs for ERG, which operates in Kazakhstan and Africa.

In his decision, Judge David Waxman made clear that without the SFO’s misconduct, a criminal investigation into ERG would not have been possible. According to Waxman, the SFO’s actions once again burdened ENRC, which led to additional financial costs and loss of time in managing the company.

The SFO investigation into ERG began in 2013 but was closed ten years later in August. The reason for the closure was “the lack of sufficient admissible evidence to prosecute”, the SFO said in a statement.

During the investigation, questions arose about the actions of Neil Gerrard, a former partner at law firm Dechert. He was tasked with providing advisory support to ERG.

Summing up his decision last year, Judge Waxman expressed his belief that the SFO had breached its duties. This was that she accepted information from Gerrard that was “clearly unauthorized” and “contrary to the interests of his client”.

ERG sought more than £21 million in compensation for legal fees, unnecessary expenses and lost management time during the trial in March. Law firm Dechert has already paid around £9 million to ENRC for work carried out and costs incurred. As a result of the court’s decision, the total amount that ERG did not receive is almost £12 million.

Аbout the company. Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) is an international conglomerate, globally recognized as a leader in the extraction and processing of mineral resources. ERG operates a fully integrated system of mining, processing, energy production, and logistics across its various subsidiaries. The majority of its assets are located in Kazakhstan. Previously known as Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), the company was a constituent of the FTSE 100 index and had its shares listed on both the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE). In 2013, ENRC was privatized and delisted from these stock exchanges.

ERG acquired ENRC and transformed it from a public company into a private entity, establishing TOO “Eurasian Group” to oversee its operations in Kazakhstan.

ERG holds the distinction of being the world’s largest producer of ferrochrome (by chromium content), the primary iron ore mining and processing enterprise in Kazakhstan, a major global exporter of iron ore, and the ninth-largest producer of commercial alumina by volume worldwide.

ERG plays a significant role in contributing to Kazakhstan’s GDP, accounting for 3% of the country’s GDP in 2009.

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