THREE Australian expatriate lawyers working at a law firm in Kazakhstan conspired to steal clients and millions of dollars in fees from another ex-pat led firm.
The Sydney Morning Herald broke the story last week, revealing that John Forster Emmott, a one time partner at UK firm Richards Butler, another Australian Robert Nicholls, a former Freehills partner, and David Slater, a Westpac in-house lawyer on leave from his job, reportedly lured oil and gas clients away from their former firm to new breakaway firm Temujin.
The three lawyers were found to have improperly earned millions in fees and share-based payments.
Justice Clifford Einstein of the New South Wales Supreme Court found that Emmott, who joined Michael Wilson & Partners in 2001 as a director and senior lawyer, had breached his fiduciary duty by sending clients to work to a competing firm, launched by Nicholls and Slater. Emmott himself joined that firm in 2006.
Justice Einstein has ordered the firm Temujin to hand over its profits for 2006 and part of 2007.