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‘The time is right’: ENRC drops Debevoise for Quinn Emanuel on SFO probe

Mining giant Eurasian National Resources Corp (ENRC) has ceased its working relationship with Debevoise & Plimpton in favour of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in a major criminal investigation taken by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The mandate is in relation to the SFO’s ongoing criminal investigation into the company over allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption around the acquisition of substantial mineral assets.

A team led by Lord Goldsmith at Debevoise was first instructed to advise ENRC on the SFO probe in 2013 but today (8 July) in a statement ENRC said: ‘We have worked closely with Debevoise & Plimpton for a number of years in responding to inquiries from the SFO. Lord Goldsmith and his team have provided consistently excellent advice and representation.’

‘They have been highly impressive in their handling of what has become a wide-ranging and complex matter. We have benefitted hugely from their wise guidance in navigating the range of difficult criminal and civil considerations that have arisen throughout the course of this investigation. For a number of strategic reasons, ENRC and Debevoise have decided the time is right to conclude this working relationship. We will now be working with Quinn to plot a course forward.’

Signature Litigation’s Graham Huntley is leading for ENRC in a parallel case over the client’s previous adviser, Dechert, ENRC claims Dechert overcharged the business by £11m and failed to comply with its professional obligations when advising the miner on various allegations of fraud and corruption. Huntley also replaced Lord Goldsmith for that case, and has instructed Blackstone Chambers’ Lord Pannick QC and Fountain Court Chambers’ Richard Lissack QC.

Just last week the SFO won special government funding to pursue its investigation into the Kazakhstan-based miner, where the Treasury gave the cash-strapped watchdog extra funding for the probe.

On the change of instruction, Quinn declined to comment. Debevoise also declined to comment.