A leading UK tax lawyer has been arrested after allegedly hiring a British private investigations firm who bribed policemen on behalf of James Ibori, former Delta State Governor.
Ian Timlin, a former litigation partner at London City Law firm, Speechly Bircham, was arrested by officers at his home in Kent in April on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt a police officer, perverting the course of justice and money-laundering offences.
The investigation relates to his firm’s work for Ibori who was jailed last year for embzlement after stealing around £50million.
Ibori had hired Speechly Bircham while the Metropolitan Police were still investigating his affairs.
Documents seen by The Independent newspaper suggest that Mr Timlin hired RISC Management, an investigations firm run by former police officers, who allegedly paid serving detectives a fee of £20,000 for information that was given to Ibori’s defence lawyers.
According to the documents, a payment of £5,000 was also allegedly made to a source for information relating to ‘forthcoming interviewing strategy to be deployed by police’.
A spokesperson for Speechly Bircham said: ‘Given an arrest was made some months ago and there has since been no charge, it would be inappropriate for us to comment.
Although Timlin was arrested in April, the news is only coming now after it has emerged that the legal world is by far the largest blue-chip employer of corrupt private detectives in Britain according to a secret list passed to British MPs by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca).
British MPs are keen to make public the list of lawyers who have employed rouge private detectives while The Police and Soca are reluctant to publish the list claiming that it could jeopardize on-going criminal investigations.
It is, however, not known if Ibori’s lawyers’ names are on the list.