City lawyer dismissed over £1m in wrongful expenses

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The Independent Online

A senior lawyer who in the past has worked on a dispute between BP and the Alfa Access Renova shareholders in its TNK-BP venture has been dismissed from the partnership at a leading City firm after wrongly making over £1m in expenses claims.

Hogan Lovells dismissed senior litigator Christopher Grierson last week after an internal investigation. The firm has also reported Mr Grierson, whose cases have spanned the collapse of BCCI to tracing Bernard Madoff assets, to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the independent body responsible for regulating the profession in England and Wales.

Hogan Lovells, which was formed last year following the merger of Lovells with the US firm Hogan & Hartson, said no clients were affected by the claims, adding that Mr Grierson had co-operated fully with its inquiries. He has also undertaken to fully pay back the amount claimed within 14 days.

A spokesman for the firm said: "Christopher acted entirely on his own. He was a long-standing partner in the firm and highly regarded. We are very saddened and concerned by these events, which represent a major breach of trust."

The SRA said it had launched an investigation, with which Hogan Lovells was co-operating fully. It is likely to be many months before the SRA puts its findings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, which will decide on what, if any, penalty to impose. Options include a fine, a reprimand or, in the most extreme case, striking Mr Grierson off the rolls.