Gibson Dunn's ex-Dubai partner Peter Gray struck off for deliberately misleading London High Court in Djibouti litigation
Peter Gray, an ex-Dubai partner of international law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, has landed into trouble after his bid to clear his name failed after he was struck off as a penalty for deliberately misleading the London High Court.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has found Gray guilty of consciously misleading the London Court by failing to draw attention to an error in evidence that had a profound impact on the outcome of a successful application for a freezing order.
The incident dates back to March 2015 when Justice Flaux found that Gray had deliberately misled him when applying for an order on behalf of his client, the Republic of Djibouti, to freeze the assets of a prominent citizen.
Justice Flaux had relied on telephone transcripts in granting the order that helped convict Abdourahman Boreh of terrorism in his absence. This led to an extradition request from Dubai that formed a key part of the application.
A member of Gray's team had alerted him shortly before the London hearing that the transcripts were wrongly dated, thereby throwing Boreh's conviction into doubt.
The SDT said that minutes of a subsequent meeting recorded the respondent as having said that they were going to fudge the dating issue in the freezing injunction application.
The Tribunal found that Gray had acted dishonestly by swearing an affidavit in support of the application which he knew to be misleading; allowing misleading submissions to be made to the Court, and misleading the solicitors appearing for the opposing side.
It said Gray had taken a strategic decision to rely on the extradition request for the freezing injunction 'and did so in a misleading manner.
The SDT pointed out that the affidavit "laboured the severity of the fact that Mr Boreh had been convicted of terrorism offences and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by the Djibouti Court. It failed to mention or address the fact that the conviction was predicated on the erroneously dated transcripts."
Gray's counsel, Lewis MacDonald, of 2 Hare Court, failed to impress the Tribunal when he sought opportunity to publicly clear his name since while submitting a long list of reasons why the respondent's actions were neither deliberate nor dishonest that included a total lack of a plausible motive, a heavy workload and hectic travel schedule that peaked during the dates covering the allegations.
"It would be perverse to disregard the contemporaneous documentary evidence in favour of the character evidence adduced on the respondent's behalf," the SDT said. It also ruled that his workload and the fact the case involved a large team 'spread over many different jurisdictions' and without a London partner did not abdicate his responsibility.
"Lack of plausible motive was not a determinative factor in considering whether the respondent was dishonest on the facts of the case," the Tribunal held.