Sir Paul Judge, a former executive director at Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation, is being sued by the mining giant after it alleged that he had “maliciously leaked” information sensitive to the company to the media.
The information in question appears to be related to a Serious Fraud Office investigation into the company which was commenced last year. The Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) commenced a criminal investigation into ENRC after information emerged that the company may – according to the SFO – have engaged in activities relating to bribery, fraud and corruption relating to the activities of the company or it subsidiaries in Kazakhstan and Africa. One of the specific allegations against the company, according to an article in the Guardian, is that the company paid cash payments to African presidents in connection with the purchase of a copper smelter in Zambia – an allegation made by Dechert after it found documentary evidence relating to the above allegations.
ENRC has now apparently issued a claim for breach of contract against Sir Paul Judge in the High Court, alleging that his breach of confidentiality (in disclosing information to the media) caused it some form of loss. Over the last two years the share price of the FTSE listed company has dropped by over 70% in the wake of a string of scandals and the initiation of the SFO investigation.
A spokesman for the company commented: “We have conducted thorough investigations into the malicious leaks that have damaged the company, its reputation and ultimately shareholder value. While these investigations continue, the company has an obligation to bring legal action where appropriate in order to protect the company’s information and stakeholders’ interests.”
A lawyer representing Judge, who had served on ENRC’s board for six years, did not respond to requests for comment to the Guardian but it is believed that Sir Paul Judge is now considering issuing a counter-claim against the company.