International firm Dechert’s former head of white-collar crime has agreed to settle a High Court claim against Kazakh mining company Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) over alleged ‘unlawful covert surveillance’.
Neil Gerrard brought claims for breaches of data protection law, misuse of private information, harassment and trespass in relation to surveillance carried out by Diligence International on behalf of ENRC.
In a claim filed in 2019, Gerrard alleged that investigators installed cameras on his property, followed him onto a private Caribbean island and monitored him on an aircraft. He sought damages of up to £100,000.
According to documents seen by the Gazette, Gerrard and his wife Ann Gerrard have agreed to accept a Part 36 offer under which Neil Gerrard will be paid £2,500 and Ann Gerrard £20,000. The settlement has not yet been approved by the High Court.
However, the Gerrards are likely to have to pay a significant portion of ENRC and Diligence’s costs, which could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Last year, a High Court ruling on ENRC and Diligence’s unsuccessful application to strike out parts of the Gerrards’ claim revealed that the parties estimated that their costs of the litigation would amount to ‘around £4m in total’.
In a statement, a spokesperson for ENRC said today: ‘We are pleased that the Gerrards’ hopeless claim has now been abandoned, although regrettably it has dragged on for two years with hundreds of thousands of pounds wasted by Dechert in funding Mr Gerrard’s campaign.’
They added that ‘Dechert must now pay ENRC and Diligence’s very significant costs in defending the action on top of the sums which the Gerrards have incurred’. Dechert and Diligence declined to comment.
Gerrard remains in a long-running dispute with ENRC after the company sued him and Dechert for negligence. Gerrard was retained by ENRC in 2010, when he was at DLA Piper, to conduct an internal investigation into allegations of wrongdoing concerning a subsidiary. He acted for the company until 2013.
The Serious Fraud Office, which continues to investigate ENRC, was also sued by the company for alleged misfeasance in public office and inducing breach of contract. The respondents deny all wrongdoing.
The blockbuster High Court claim, which heard allegations that Gerrard leaked confidential information to newspapers and the SFO in order to provide the ‘fodder he needed to expand his investigation’, concluded in September and judgment is awaited.